Nigeria’s most consistent player in Europe, Anthony Nwakaeme, has been delivering the goods for his Turkish team, Trabzonspor for the past two seasons.
He has produced double figures in both goals and assists in every season since his move to Trabzonspor (12G+12A & 14G+11A).
This season, he has already netted 5 times along with 3 assists in 15 games, with his latest goal coming in his last game against Konyaspor, his first against them.
His goal contributions as well as influence to the team has lifted them out of a relegation fight, as they started the season with 1 win in 8 games, to a title push as they now sit in 7th place, eight points behind leaders, Besiktas.
But his most recent applause has come from his influence off the field, to bedridden Trabzonspor fan, Yusuf Şentürk.
The 26-year-old suffers from cerebral palsy as a result of an hereditary condition in his family and has remained confined to a bed for 3 years.
Though only 26, the young man has suffered tragedies that older humans have never experienced. He lost his mother to an auto crash in the city of Trabzon in 2012 and his ailment has taken any ability to speak, leaving him only capable of conveying thoughts and emotions through facial expressions.
His life has been so full of emptiness that he hardly reacts to anything, but he however beams a smile whenever he watches a video of his favourite player, Nigeria’s Anthony Nwakaeme.
Yusuf has been an ardent supporter of the Black Sea Storm since before his illness but he has an passionate affection for Nwakaeme who joined in 2018.
His aunt, Nuran Şentürk, who is his caretaker, as his 53-year-old father, Temel Şentürk, suffers a similar ailment, has described the young man’s touching reaction to whenever he sees his idol.
“He follows all the matches,” Nuran said
“But he has a separate love for Nwakaeme, one of the players. Nwakaeme sent Yusuf the jersey he signed and wished for a get well soon. I help him watch the matches on the phone. He gets excited when the ball comes to Nwakaeme’s feet.”
Although Nwakaeme optimistically wishes the young man recovers, his aliment is incurable and can only be managed.
The 31-year-old forward will however find comfort in the knowledge that he has been able to psychologically heal the citizens of foreign nation, even though his home country of Nigeria have requested for his service only once, in 2017, at the age of 28.