Sports News

Nigerian boy hopes for future in soccer after setting freestyle world record

WARRI, Nigeria (Reuters) - A 12-year-old boy from Nigeria who set a world record for the most consecutive soccer ball touches in one minute while balancing a second ball on his head is planning to take his skills global when he grows up.

Chinonso Eche, from the city of Warri in southern Nigeria, has become an online sensation, with videos of his tricks attracting thousands of viewers.

Inspired by footage of footballers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as retired Nigerian midfielder Jay-Jay Okocha, Chinonso said he mostly taught himself.

“Nobody taught me but my father made an impact in my life by showing me some videos... and I picked it up from there.”

Chinonso managed 111 football touches in 60 seconds while a second ball balanced on his head, earning him a place in the 2021 edition of the Guinness World Records, the first time it is included in the annual reference book.

The boy, now backed by a management company, hopes his talents will turn into an international career.

“My dream is to become a footballer and international freestyler, and travel all over the world,” he said.

Chinonso’s next target is 2,000 consecutive touches, while balancing a ball on his head.

Reporting by Seun Sanni; Additional reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram and Nneka Chile in Lagos; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky