Nelson striker catching eye of top European clubs

Mamoke Akaunu in action for Nelson
Mamoke Akaunu in action for Nelson

Young Nelson striker Mamoke Akaunu has been handed the opportunity of a lifetime by two of Portugal’s top academies - while attracting interest from top Premier League and Championship clubs.

The 18-year-old, initially spotted by Blues chief executive Adam Keizer playing parks football in Liverpool last year, has been invited to link up with both Sporting Lisbon and Braga.

He only joined the Admirals last month, scoring on his debut in a 15-minute cameo off the bench against Squires Gate, and subsequently has impressed in training, friendlies and development squad games since.

And Keizer said: “I’m not surprised by the interest shown in Mamoke.

He’s just turned 18 and at 6ft 2ins he’s quick, strong and a natural finisher.

“He joined Nelson last month and has really enjoyed it, we’ve got a fantastic set up here at Nelson with Mark Fell and the coaching staff which was a major factor in Mamoke deciding to join us.

“I first saw him playing in a park in Liverpool last year and was impressed immediately, not just with his football ability but also his attitude too.

“He’s got the desire and commitment required to become a professional footballer.”

What caught Keizer’s eye has seemingly not gone unnoticed elsewhere: “There are a number of Premier League and Championship clubs

interested in him and have invited him to trial. He got an offer to fly out to Portugal last week and spend time with Sporting Lisbon and Braga.

“The feedback I’ve had is that he’s really impressed both clubs, and has thoroughly enjoyed his time out there. It’s good for young English footballers to experience football in other countries if they get the chance, so it’s great that Mamoke has taken the opportunity.

“He’ll be back at Nelson next week and I imagine will assess all the options from there. We’re all extremely proud of him.”