By Peter Sember
Rewinding the clock a few years ago when the Netherlands hosted the FIFA World Youth Championship in 2007, the world was amazed, flabbergasted, and astonished by the performances of Lionel Messi, Mikel Obi, and Taye Taiwo who were the best players of the tournament.
A decade and half years later, there are standout performances at FIFA’s highest tournament in Qatar with players showcasing their credentials and exceeding expectations.
Kylian Mbappe of France, Saka of England, Julian Alvarez of Argentina, and a host of others.
It is quite relatable to mention the players above, as they are in their early twenties.
But it becomes unthinkable to have players like Lionel Messi and Luka Modric putting in heroic performances and bearing the plight of their respective countries, with ineluctable stardom.
Is Messi Truly from Another Planet?
The conspiracy sports theorists who believe that Lionel Messi is from another planet may tend to be true, as he has maintained and stayed in the mainstream for close to two(2) decades.
However, Taye Taiwo and Mikel Obi are nowhere to be found.
Taiyo Taiwo, 37 plays for Salon Palloilijat in Finland.
Started his professional career at Gabros FC in 2003 before he was snatched up by Lobi Stars of Makurdi in 2004.
He moved to Olympique Marseille of France, where he experienced the greatest part of his career.
Eventually moving to Milan, which rather became a descending sojourn for the former Nigerian International till date.
Mikel Obi, on the other hand, announced his retirement from professional football on the 27th of September 2022, after canceling his contract with Kuwait SC.
After flourishing at Lyn Oslo of Norway and the grandiose move to Chelsea which was categorized by an arsenal of enormous laurels.
The once dependable Jose Mourinho’s steward could not live longer as imagined.
The African-Age Trojan Horse
Between Taye Taiwo and Mikel Obi, Mikel’s age is more relatable than Taiwo’s nuances and inconsistencies in age.
There were media reports in 2012 by Nairaland Forum and later Premium Times, on 26 April 2020 about Taiwo’s twin brother, Kehinde Taiwo who is ten years older than him.
Football is a physical sport that requires agility and endurance, hence age is a vital part of the game.
In the Same League with Taiwo
Guélor Kanga Kaku, a Gabonese National team player who plays for Red Star Belgrade, may tend to be a mile away from Taye Taiwo.
As Kaku was summoned by the CAF Disciplinary Committee to explain why he was born after his mother’s death in 1985.
The attacking midfielder was astonishingly and miraculously born in 1990.
Africa have also produced the likes of George Weah of Liberia, Jay Jay Okocha of Nigeria, Samuel Et’o of Cameroon, amongst others.
Can African footballing feats surmise without strict adherence to age cheating?