Nathaniel Adamolekun, the US-based striker, is aiming to follow in his sister’s footsteps by representing Jamaica in the FIFA World Cup finals.
The 21-year-old, who has already represented the Reggae Boyz at U17 and U20 level, is keen to catch the eye and become part of the plans as Jamaica tackle their CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers next year.
His sister Olufolasade was part of Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz at last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in France, and has been an inspiration as he hopes to join the Boyz in their bid to reach the Qatar 2022 finals. It has been widely acknowledged that the Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) are keen to boost their squad ahead of their 14 World Cup qualifying games.
Although a number of European-based players, who boast either a parent or a grandfather with Jamaican heritage, are being monitored there is a plethora of talent who ply their trade in the United States.
Adamolekun, whose mother Michelle is Jamaican and father Lanre is Nigerian, has been overlooked for international duty since his last appearance for the Boyz when he played for the U20 team four years ago alongside forward Shamar Nicholson. Kingston-born Nicholson now plays in the Belgian Pro League with Royal Charleroi SC.
And Adamolekun, who turned only professional after playing at the University of North Carolina in the US, does boast European experience. He kicked off with then Portuguese top-flight club in 2017 at U23 level, and was loaned out for the 2018-19 campaign at FC Pedras Rubras.
A move to Austrian outfit FC Pinzgau Saalfelden for the 2019-20 season, where he bagged eight goals in seven matches for the reserve side during the first half of the season, was halted by the league’s suspension because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Adamolekun returned to his hometown in the US and last week (19 August) made his debut for USL Championship side Austin Bold, appearing as an 86th-minute substitute during a 2–2 draw with FC Tulsa.
The JFF have numerous players on their radar, and reaching the highly lucrative World Cup finals in Qatar is absolute priority. But Adamolekun, with no top tier experience, is going have to produce some eye-catching performances if he is to attract the serious attention of the JFF.
Although defensive-minded Whitmore has a talent for polishing talented players, there’s now little room for manoeurve when it comes to testing out squad members as Jamaica’s competitive matches are so important. Whitmore has laid down the groundwork by taking the Boyz to world no.48, including being reliant on locally-based players.
But Whitmore’s next goal is to qualify for the World Cup finals. Realistically the former fan favourite, when he was in the heart of defence for the Boyz, cannot risk bringing in untried and untested players at such a crucial stage that leaves Adamolekun potentially on the sidelines.
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