The picturesque Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo is not only known for its beauty in aesthetics or its uniqueness in allowing footballers the perfect platform to strut their stuff but it is also a place where stars are birthed; enter Wisdom Ndon.
When the second stanza of the 2022/2023 Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) got off on Saturday, all eyes were on the heroes of the league that returned after fruitless sojourns abroad, little did we know that the birth of a star was also imminent.
There was a surprise name in Akwa United’s start list for their Match Day 10 game against Shooting Stars on Sunday. Wisdom Ndon, a teenage centre back entrusted with the wisdom of keeping the visitors’ attackers at bay.
“I was happy when the coach told me I was going to start today because it is something I had longed for, it is my dream to play in this league and make a name for myself,” Ndon told www.aclsports.com after his memorable league debut.
Spotting a well knitted dreadlock, the defender took to the game like a duck to water, came out tops in physical and aerial duels, portrayed impeccable abilities on the ball and showed no signs of being a debutant in a league famed to be unfriendly to youngsters as there are no margins for errors.
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Good for him too; he had behind him the support of the home fans made predominantly of Akwa-Ibom locals who greeted every bit of his intelligent decisions with sporadic applause making for the best atmosphere a young player can hope to develop in.
The decision to start Ndon was somewhat borne out of necessity though. United’s most trusted centre back Anthony Anioke is with the Nigerian U23s but for the teenager to be given the nod ahead of former Under 20 defender Boluwaji Sholumade, it shows that there’s something seen in this star.
The countenance of Akwa United coach Ayodeji Ayeni wore a special glow when this reporter asked him about the performance of the lad he had thrown into the deep end on such a big occasion.
“Highly phenomenal,” those were Ayeni’s words to describe the debut of Ndon who could become everything he wants to be if he truly wants.
Ayeni adds; “I started my footballing career at the age of 19 and I am an apostle of encouraging young players. I know that he has the potentials and it’s just a matter of time.
“He waited for his time, he took the chance very well and everyone can see the testimony of what we’re doing today, to encourage the young players. When you give them the encouragement and you make them to understand that they can do it, you will see the best of them so I wish him the best.”
Ndon was signed from Ibom Youths FC who are in the lower rungs of Nigerian football and it was easy to guess who is his role-model with his demeanour on and off the pitch.
“Olisa Ndah has been my role model right from the onset and I believe with my hard work, I can become even better than him,” concluded Wisdom Ndon, a face to check out when next you attend an Akwa United game.