It puts an end to the uncertainty and turmoil that has surrounded the 23-year-old’s future since Nigeria’s AFCON 2021 campaign ended.
Nwakali, who has been widely considered as one of Nigeria’s most promising players over the last decade, has had a string of setbacks in his professional career.
After missing out on Emmanuel Amunike’s winning U17 World Cup squad two years prior, the midfielder was named captain in 2015 and ascended to popularity as he led the team to a second consecutive title and earned the Golden Ball trophy, alongside Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze.
After a stunning move to Arsenal in 2016, Nwakali seemed poised to take over the Super Eagles’ creative burden.
OFICIAL | La SD Huesca resuelve el contrato de Kelechi Nwakali.— SD Huesca (@SDHuesca) April 5, 2022
El club finaliza la relación contractual que vinculaba a la entidad azulgrana con el futbolista, y que expiraba en junio de 2022.
Several loan moves to MVV Maastricht (twice), VVV Venlo, and FC Porto B, however, tempered those high hopes.
The young midfielder, who is undeniably skilled, eventually made a permanent move to Huesca in 2019, allowing him to grow and develop away from the spotlight.
What looked ideal at the time has since turned into a nightmare.
Nwakali made his competitive debut at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, when a slew of absences gave him the chance to show off his skills for the Super Eagles.
Three decent outings in the iconic green and white colours were accomplished, but an untimely sickness forced him to withdraw from the crucial Round of 16 clash against Tunisia, which saw Nigeria eliminated.
Despite giving a doctor’s certificate excusing his lateness, SD Huesca punished Nwakali indefinitely and prohibited him from the training facility after he reportedly arrived late from the continental showpiece.
The dispute was eventually taken up by the Spanish Players’ Union (AFE), and the club agreed to let Nwakali return to training last month.
Nwakali was no stranger to disciplinary troubles, and his tense relationship with his manager, Xisco Munoz, further hampered his hopes of redemption.
Kelechi Nwakali’s OFFICIAL STATEMENT regarding the termination of his contract by SD Huesca states;
It comes with huge regret that I am writing this message after SD Huesca announced the termination of my contract.
I have kept silent out of respect for the Huesca fans and my teammates, but I will no longer suffer in silence. The time has come for people to know the truth and why these past few months have been awful for me and my family.
In Dec 2021, I experienced the biggest honour of my life after I received a full international call up for my beloved Nigeria. But the joy of this moment quickly came crashing down when the club’s Sporting Director, Ruben Garcia, put extreme pressure on me not to go to AFCON due to it ‘not being an important tournament’.
He told me that if I go to AFCON I will not play for Huesca again. This behaviour and the lack of respect shown to my country Nigeria was truly heart-breaking and it was just the latest example of the club attempting to bully me into getting their own way.
For months the club has been abusing its power to bully me into signing a new contract.
These tactics have included paying me late on numerous occasions. The breakdown in negotiations came when my mother fell ill and I asked Ruben for the wages the club already owed me in order to pay for my Mother’s hospital bill and treatment.
Ruben Garcia responded to my request by saying ‘Sign this new contract and we will pay you what’s owed tonight!
But despite these actions, I was not going to allow the club to stop me representing my country at one of the biggest international tournaments in the world and I was honoured to join my teammates in Cameroon.
Before Nigeria’s last 16 game against Tunisia on 23rd January 2022, I began to feel unwell and was diagnosed with a Respiratory Tract Infection. As a result I was not fit enough to play in the game against Tunisia.
After we were eliminated from the tournament I was unable to return to the club immediately as planned because of my illness following advice from the Doctor.
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