Sports

Finidi George praises Atalanta hat trick star, congratulates Boniface and Tella

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Newly appointed Super Eagles coach, Finidi George was full of praise for Atalanta’s Ademola Lookman after his side’s UEFA Europa League triumph last night, Soccernet.ng reports. 

The 26-year-old winger was at his electrifying best at the Aviva Stadium in Ireland, carving the Leverkusen defence apart like hot knife through butter, and scoring three superb goals.

Lookman was a core member of the Super Eagles team that secured second place at the AFCON 2023 tournament in Ivory Coast, scoring three goals, but didn’t feature in Finidi’s friendly games during the March International break.

While there were several reports that Finidi is not a fan of the former Everton man, the Super Eagles coach made it clear that the former RB Leipzig forward is a core part of his team.

 

Speaking with journalists at his Media parlay in Lagos today, Finidi George was full of praise for Lookman, and hopes the former Atalanta man will replicate the same form during Nigeria’s upcoming qualifiers.

“’I’m delighted with his performance. I sent him a message to him to congratulate him and I’m happy. I also reached out to Boniface and Tella to tell them they should be proud of what they did. This is a great time for Nigerians. It’s wonderful for me as a coach. I’m happy with what he did and looking forward to him in the qualifiers,” Finidi said in his press conference.

Lookman made history last night, becoming the first player to score a hat-trick in a UEFA Europa League final while Tella and Boniface can hold their chin up and keep their head high after an eventful season that saw Leverkusen go 51 games unbeaten, breaking Benfica’s 60 year record.

Xabi Alonso’s men won the German Bundesliga, ending Bayern Munich’s eleven year reign and are on course for a domestic double if they can defeat Kaiserslauten in the DFB Pokal final on Saturday.

Finidi George mentioned that his selection for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers will be based largely on the team that travelled with the Super Eagles to the AFCON 2023 tournament in Ivory Coast, giving Lookman another nod.

“We’ll see new faces for sure, about two to three new players. The squad should be out before the end of this weekend, we just have to sort out a few things. Some of our players are injured and we want to be sure they’ll be able to make it in time for our games, but largely, we’ll be building on our team from the AFCON,” the former Real Betis winger added.

The Super Eagles will play against South Africa in June 7th at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo by 8pm, before travelling to Ivory Coast to play against Gernot Rohr’s Benin Republic three days later.