Star African football player to watch: David Okereke

Venezia’s David Okereke (L) celebrates after scoring the 2-0 lead during the Italian Serie A soccer match between Empoli FC and Venezia FC at Carlo Castellani Stadium in Empoli, Italy, 11 September 2021. EPA/Claudio Giovannini

Okereke recently made waves in the Italian top flight with a brilliant solo goal for Venezia, which proved to be the decisive strike in a 2-1 win at Empoli earlier this month. Dribbling from inside his own half before providing a crisp low finish, the Nigerian’s goal drew comparisons to the famous strike from African football legend George Weah for AC Milan against Verona in 1996.

Okereke insists he was not thinking of the 1995 World Player of the Year when he made his way towards the Empoli goal; rather his solo effort was because he had no teammate near enough to pass to. “The action (for the goal) I did it all by myself because there was no one there,” he explained. “I’m very happy with how it ended. In training camp, it helped us being together by creating the group.”

The 24-year-old is on loan at Venezia from parent club Club Brugge in Belgium, with the Lagos-born attacker hoping that his new Italian hosts take up an option to make the transfer permanent come to the end of the 2021-22 campaign. Okereke admits that he found the going tough at Brugge last season, where he was mostly used as a substitute.

“At Club [Brugge] I started well, but in the end, it didn’t end well because I didn’t have many opportunities after that,” he explained, before adding: “I have grown a lot in Belgium and overall it was a positive experience. For the past two years, I have played in a team that was built to become champions, but Serie A will be a new challenge that I take on with extra energy.”

Okereke, who has yet to play for Nigeria at the senior international level, has also been on the books of  USD Lavagnese and Cosenza Calcio in his European club career. Wearing the number 77 jersey, Okereke will hope to guide Venezia to a victory in their Serie A match at home to Torino at the Stadio Pier Luigi Penzo in Venice on the evening of Monday 27 September, which you can see LIVE on SuperSport Football and SuperSport GOtv Select 1.

See David Okereke in the following match live on SuperSport:

Monday 27 September

20:45: Venezia v Torino – LIVE on SuperSport Football and SuperSport GOtv Select 1

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