Unknown to most Nigerians, Shehu Sani Emmanuel, the player who has caught the attention of the sporting world with his splendid showing for the Golden Eaglets, even as a substitute, is an altar boy in the Synagogue Church of All Nations.
A product of Pastor TB Joshua's My People FC, the Edo State-born striker who now plies his trade with Bodens BK of Sweden, was literally raised in the Synagogue. A proven goal-scorer, Emmanuel caught the attention of national team coaches in friendlies involving My People FC, the Egypt 2009 Flying Eagles and the Golden Eaglets.
Emmanuel was top scorer for My People FC before he, alongside Eaglets teammate, Onazi Ogenyi, departed the shores of Nigeria, courtesy of Pastor Joshua's sponsorship, to hone their skills.
A hattrick specialist, Emmanuel is regarded as one of the brightest prospects in Swedish football. Saturday Champion Sports gathered that Bodens officials and Swedish sports journalists who have been following the Eaglets' progress at Nigeria 2009, have called in to express surprise that the player was being used sparingly by Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Emmanuel, is confident the John Obuh tutored-Eaglets will survive Korea's challenge during Monday's quarter-final clash at the U.J Esuene Stadium Calabar.
Emmanuel, who currently leads Eaglets' scorers chat with three goals, told Sporting Champion exclusively at the Abuja National Stadium, that the Eaglets are focused for the task ahead.
"We are not going to be carried away by the 5-0 win over New Zealand. Having got to this level of the competition, we are going to give all our best to ensure that we get the semi-final ticket and go all the way to clinch the ultimate prize," he stressed.
The Nigerians were always in the driving seat in their round-of-16 clash against hopeful New Zealand. Scoring three goals in the first half, the Eaglets won the day 5-0 and fairly well cruised through their first knockout game to book passage to the quarter-finals, where they will lock horns with fast-moving Asian.
Edafe Egbedi opened scoring with a left-foot scorcher in the 14th minute after some clever work out wide by Terry Envoh. The stunned New Zealanders - playing in their first-ever knockout game at a FIFA finals - were in over their heads, and ten minutes later they were 2-0 down when Stanley Okoro hopped on the end of a spilled ball by New Zealand goalkeeper Coey Turipa.
Indeed, the Eaglets were having all of the possession and running circles around the Oceania lads. Egbedi grabbed his second goal of the game after 28 minutes when he collected a short pass in the area and curled another left-footed strike inside the far post.