Abraham Marcus of Portuguese side Feirense CD is the latest surprise call up by Super Eagles head coach, Gernot Rohr, and no-one was more surprised by his inclusion than the player himself.
Marcus’s call up is a relative shock to football followers in Nigeria, who had barely heard of the Liga Portugal 2 forward prior to his inclusion in Rohr’s provisional 31-man squad for a friendly against Cameroon on June 4 in Austria.
Marcus only broke into the first team of Feirense — the club owned by Nigerian businessman Kunle Soname — in October. He had previously been with the Under-23s after joining the club from NPFL side Remo Stars, where he scored seven goals in 23 appearances.
“I told my late dad before he passed that any time I step foot in Europe and have a good season, I will surely make it to the national team,” Marcus told ESPN.
“My dad loved football and he always wanted to see me in the Super Eagles. So when I saw my name on the list, the first thing I did was to go straight to the bathroom to relieve myself. I did not believe it.
“I looked at the name again to make sure there was no mistake, and then I called my boss to ask him if this was really me or somebody else.
“Even when he said it was me, I still did not quite believe it and then a few minutes later, my phone started blowing up. I think that was when I finally believed that it was me.
“I was very, very excited when I saw my name on the list. It is a dream come true.”
His first senior league game was against Estoril. He came on as a substitute with fewer than 20 minutes to go and Feirense trailing 2-3. With almost the last kick of the game, he drew his side level.
Marcus has since taken his tally to 11 goals and two assists from 24 appearances. He has earned seven player of the match awards and one player of the month award.
“Having a chance to play football is just a joy for me. My main focus is just to score goals. Any time I am on the pitch, I just try to do what the coach tells me so I can score,” he said.
The 21-year-old is looking forward to bringing that mentality to the national team even if he is still feeling giddy about his invitation.
“It is a privilege to play with the big players in Nigeria like Ahmed Musa, Alex Iwobi, Peter Etebo, Victor Osimhen. I cannot wait to meet everyone,” he said.