Kelechi Iheanacho, who powered Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets to a 6-1 victory over Mexico during the opening Group stage of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Al Ain City, has been applauded for celebrating each of his incredible four goals with explosive ‘YES’ affirmation of his self-acknowledged favourite WWE Superstar, Daniel Bryan.
The “YES!” chant of two-time WWE Champion Daniel Bryan continues to spread throughout the WWE Universe around the world, including the action-packed arena of championship soccer in the UAE.
Iheanacho’s four-goal celebration proved infectious, with each successful strike prompting not only teammates to join in the chant around the field’s corner flags, but the raucous throng of fans inside Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium as well.
The youngster’s incredible tournament day did not go unnoticed by Bryan, who was moved by Iheanacho’s emulation of the Superstar.
“I think it’s incredible that he’s doing the ‘YES!’ chant,” said Bryan, who also congratulated Iheanacho on his four-goal feat against Mexico.
“It’s incredible that such an amazing athlete from Nigeria is now doing something that I do on TV. It’s great”, the WWE superstar said just at the nick of time when Sunday Night Shows, including Hell In The Cell clash between John Cena and Alberto Del Rio were being staged.
Eyeonthesports.com recalls how Iheanacho surprised the spectators with his unique celebration at the on-going FIFA U-17 World Cup.
When asked by fifa.com if his dance step was a traditional dance from Iheanacho’s native Imo state, in the South East of Nigeria? “No, no, no,” the player said, laughing, fidgeting on the marble floor of the stadium’s main entrance. “This is the celebration move of my favourite professional wrestler Bryan,” Iheanacho said.
Bryan is this Nigerian boy’s favourite wrestler, a bearded American from the outskirts of Seattle who occasionally goes by the moniker, the American Dragon.
“I watch him on TV and I love the way he whips up the crowd this way, so I decided to copy it. The fans seemed to like it, too,” he added with a broad grin in an interview with fifa.com.
“I was totally over the top with joy when that first goal went in,” he added. It showed too, and he kept up the same WrestleMania-inspired dance party after every goal, and then again at the end of the game when the players grabbed green-and-white flags from the stands and partied like they’d just won the whole tournament.
The theme song of Iheanacho’s favourite wrestler is Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’, which is suitable considering this Nigerian side are now favourites to play in the ultimate match in Abu Dhabi on 8 November. And Iheanacho, with his electrifying style in a withdrawn striker’s role, is currently among the top scorers in the UAE.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian side, Golden Eaglets will battle Iran in a Round of 16 match of the U-17 World Cup on Tuesday, 29 October, and only time will tell if Iheanacho will get another chance to score and say ‘YES’, in his usual ‘Bryan’s celebration style’.