One of the key attacking figures for the Nigerian teams that won silver medals at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup and at the 2008 Olympic Football Tournament, Chinedu Obasi’s star has done nothing but rise over the last half-dozen years. An exciting striker capable of bursting past defenders and blistering shots in from all over, Obasi racked up three goals at the U-20s in the Netherlands, including in the semi-final and final matches. It was an ironic tally for the player who was a ball boy at the same event when Nigeria hosted the U-20s in 1999. And Obasi made further headlines by scoring a brace in the last four in Beijing, a 4-1 defeat of Belgium.
Having spent two productive seasons in the Norwegian league, at FC Lyn alongside friend John Obi Mikel, Obasi moved to ambitious German club Hoffenheim in the summer of 2007. He was a significant part of the team that climbed to the top of the Bundesliga table in the first half of the 2008 season, and his form has been such that major English Premier League teams have seldom been far away from being linked to his transfer.
Due to turn 24 just before the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ finals, Obasi was not a regular feature in qualifying for South Africa. He appeared twice and was wasteful in front of goal in the 2-2 draw with Tunisia in September of last year. For that reason he was not expected to make then-coach Shaibu Amodu’s squad for the CAF Cup of Nations earlier this year in Angola. But a good run of form saw him called up at the expense of Michael Eneramo, and Obasi rewarded the Super Eagles with a rocket of a goal to open the scoring against eventual champions Egypt in their first match. Although Nigeria went on to lose that contest, Obasi was one of the few players to earn positive notices, and he started all six matches for Nigeria - although his performances suffered as the tournament went on due to fatigue.