England’s Premiership outfit Wolves may well have the next Jadon Sancho on their hands.
That is because 13-year-old Joshua Nyakudya is continuing to excel in the Wolves academy – humiliating older players in training and competitive games.
The West Midlands side snapped up the youngster, acclaimed for his raw pace, skills and tireless work-rate, two years ago from West Brom, who play in the Championship – the second tier of English football.
“I think I play like Jadon Sancho, he is a good player and I always strive to model my game around him,” Nyakudya tells FARPost from his Birmingham base.
The soft-spoken teenager is the son of television presenter and award-winning musician Carole Nyakudya – an entrepreneur and mental health professional based in England’s second-largest city.
She knows her son’s game bears a resemblance to the Borussia Dortmund ace’s, but she rightly warns “he still has to work his way up”.
“Josh is not afraid to take on a defender who tries to challenge him. I want him to keep sharpening that soccer skill as he gets older because players who can beat defenders on the dribble are valuable to any team like Jadon Sancho is to Borussia Dortmund,” she says.
His elder brother, Jesse, 16, also attached to another England football academy, describes Sancho’s playing style as similar to what his brother can do in the Premier League in the coming years.
Interestingly, the ambitious starlet, whose ‘bucket list’ includes lifting the prestigious Ballon d’Or, has set his sights on playing for one of the top six sides in England especially Manchester United or Manchester City.
While training has had to stop because of a government ban on all outdoor activities aimed at combatting the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Nyakudya daily goes on a 5km run to keep fit.
“I have to keep myself fit and follow the club’s training program so that I’m ready when football resumes,” he says.
The ardent youngster is clear on one thing – he does not want to stop playing football.
“Football is my passion,” he says with such poise.
But, the teenage sensation admits he will soon find himself at a crossroads. Once he is ready for senior international football, he will have to choose between his country of birth England and Zimbabwe, the homeland of his parents.
And while he has an affinity with Zimbabwe due to his parents’ passion for their country of origin, he knows donning the Three Lions jersey would present him more opportunities.
“My roots are in Zimbabwe because that’s where my parents come from, but honestly playing for the Three Lions would present more opportunities for me.
“I’d play at the World Cup, the Euros, the Nations Cup and you’re bound to be seen by scouts when you play at such competitions,” he explains.
He has travelled throughout Europe for tournaments with the Wolves academy, and locally they play against opposite sides from the other Premiership clubs.
With the kind of determination he possesses, Nyakudya is certainly one to look out for in the near future.
By Mthokozisi Dube