Natural-born strikers always share some qualities: an ability to
be in the right place at the right time, a keen eye for the goal,
and a cool finishing touch under pressure. At the tender age of 17,
Nigeria's Macauley Chrisantus seems to have all these already.
Having scored four goals during the African qualifiers in Togo in March, Chrisantus bagged five more - including two braces against Japan and Haiti - during the group stage at Korea 2007. Although his scoring run came to a short stop in the Round of 16 clash with Colombia, the No9 found the net against Argentina to become the best scorer of the tournament so far.
However, the FC Abuja forward is not satisfied yet and has set his sights higher. "There's no limit for me," he told FIFA.com. "I want to score as many goals as I can, maybe 8 to 9 goals."
That would probably be just enough for him to win the Golden Boot in this competition and lead the Golden Eaglets to winning a third world crown on 9 September. But before that, the Nigerians have to face a tough challenge in the shape of Germany.
Team work and divine strength
"Whoever our next opponents will be, we have confidence in our team because we have no weakness," explains Chrisantus. "We always play as a team, and as a family."
That said, the Golden Eaglets could not have made it to the last four so easily if Chrisantus was not there. "But I couldn't have scored so many goals without the help from my team-mates," says the striker who also had two assists to help his team-mates in return.
An admirer of Thierry Henry, the Eaglet has scored all of six goals with his right foot but he does not want to resemble his idol so closely. "Well, my role model is myself," smiles Chrisantus. "I'd love to play for (Henry's former club) Arsenal, where young players with talent grow into real professionals, but for now I have to develop my own game."
While he is trying to establish his game and mix his talent in harmony with his team-mates, there is another factor behind Nigeria's success so far. It is almost impossible to imagine them playing without their supporters, who were virtually everywhere, even when Nigeria visited Korea for the first time in June for the Eight Nations tournament.
And Chrisantus admits there is nothing to fear, with the Nigerian fans following their game and cheering up the Golden Eaglets with familiar tunes. They have been traveling all the way from Gwangyang to Jeju and then from Cheonan to Suwon with a brass band.
"The famous song is called Oyachukunogaja which means 'God is our strength.' It's true that the fans have helped us a lot during the games and we want to win the trophy for them. That's our target."