Emenike: from Black Aces to Super Eagles ace
WHEN Nigerian Emmanuel Emenike played in South Africa four years ago he was not a big name, but he is now enjoying the popularity of a global soccer star.
Emenike, who has played a massive role in the Super Eagles' success in the Africa Cup of Nations, plays for Russian giants Spartak Moscow.
He has rattled the net three times in the Afcon tournament, helping Nigeria qualify for the semifinals, where they will meet Mali in Durban tomorrow.
Speaking after scoring his third goal of the tournament, in the 2-1 win over Ivory Coast on Sunday, Emenike said he was glad to be back in South Africa.
"I have been enjoying my stay. South Africa is a lovely country and I love it. In fact, it is my second country after Nigeria. It feels good for me now that people call my name every time we go for training or to the malls.
"I have enjoyed myself playing here in South Africa. The standard of football is growing in leaps and bounds. I would love to come back and play for one of the top clubs in South Africa one day; the PSL is one of the top seven premier leagues in the world."
"I have enjoyed meeting some of the old friends," said Emenike, who was a member of the Mpumalanga Black Aces side that lost 1-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns in the inaugural Nedbank Cup in 2008.
The following season Emenike relocated to the Mother City, where he played for FC Cape Town, making 16 appearances and scoring only one goal.
After that Emenike played in Turkey for Karabukspor and Fenerbahce.