Although only 20, Michael Babatunde has already spent over two years playing in the Ukrainian top flight for FC Kryvbas Kryvyj Rih, having joined the club from Heartland FC in March 2011. His impressive performance in the Ukraine did not go unnoticed as the forward was rewarded with a first call-up into the Super Eagles squad for their FIFA World Cup qualifier against Kenya in March and was then also included in the Nigerian squad for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013. He was an unused substitute against Kenya, but then earned his first cap in Nigeria's 2-2 draw against Mexico in an international friendly at the end of May.

 

Playing his first game for Nigeria was a dream come true. “Words cannot express my excitement for making my dream debut for my country at last. It was a sweet debut for me. On my first touch, I was nervous being the first time in such a game, but as a professional player, I adjusted and I was soon playing to my potential.” Despite the joy of his debut, he is no newcomer to international football, having been a member of the Nigerian 'Dream Team', that was hoping to qualify for the London Olympics. However, they failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the African Under-23 Championships in 2011 and thus missed out on a trip to England.

 

Babatunde previously also played for his country's U-17 and U-20 sides. "But I had never represented Nigeria at the senior level and so to be called up is really fantastic for me," the left winger, who was born on Christmas Eve 1992, said after making his debut.