After a visit to Nigeria in 1999, Poland coach Nawałka became a huge admirer of Nigerian football.
When Adam Nawalka takes his Polish side to face the Super Eagles in a friendly on Friday, March 23, it won’t be the first time the coach is coming in contact with Nigerian players.
About 20 years before the friendly game that will be played on Friday in Wroclaw, Nwalka worked in Nigeria for several months where he scouted some of the best players from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
According to Michal Zichlarz, a Polish journalist writing for Complete Sports, Nawałka was in March 1999 invited to Nigeria by Anthony Egwuatu, a medical doctor who resides in Poland.
Egwuatu was also a huge football enthusiast and was hugely involved in the game. At that time, he helped in the transfer of several players from the NPFL to Poland.
Scouting in Nigeria
While living in Krakow, he met Nawałka, a former Poland international and then scout for Wisla Krakow.
Nawałka came to Nigeria with Zbigniew Boniek, a Polish football legend and the present president of the Polish Football Association (PZPN).
During his visit to Nigeria, he paid attention to Nigerian football and monitored the Nigerian league.
“He was a guest of my family and I must say that he was adored by everybody. My mum, till today, asks me, how is Adam?,” Egwuatu is quoted to say in the Complete Sports report.
Then a certain Enyimba player Kelechi Iheanacho- not to be confused for the current Super Eagles and Leicester City star- was tearing up the Nigerian league.
Nawalka read about him in one of the Nigerian newspapers he kept up with daily during his visit and contacted him.
Later in 1999, Iheanacho signed for Wisla Krakow.
“As far as I know, Adam Nawalka found out in one of the newspapers that I was scoring lots of goals. He came to see me in action in Aba. That’s how Wisla Krakow later gave me a proposal to play for them,” Iheanacho said in the Complete Sports report.
Iheanacho still resides in Poland and has since retired.
Nawalka also spotted several players during his visit and has remained a huge fan of Nigerian football since then.
He will be leading his men to face the Super Eagles in preparation for Senegal, one of their Group H opponents.
They will also play South Korea in this international break.
“I’m very happy with my opponents. Both Nigeria and South Korea present a very similar style to our rivals at the World Cup, as well as Chile in June,” Nawalka is quoted to say on the Poland Football Federation official website.