A little over a week ago we informed everybody that Bright Dike was called up for the Nigerian national team's training camp ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations. While his position on the team at that point was far from locked in, it was still a great chance for him to, at the very least, get some meaningful training at the international level.
Today the Nigerian team played against Catalonia, a pseudo national team for the Spanish region (into whose politics we won't dive). Needless to say, however, that the Catalonian national team often fields some of FC Barcelona's best players and today saw both Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez play, arguably two of the best players in the world.
After going down 1-nil, Dike was able to help equalize in the 55th minute to bring the team back from the brink. It's a monumental moment for him as it proves that he's not only a great MLS striker, but a great international one and it will hopefully lead to him being selected for the final Africa Cup of Nation Nigeria squad.
For Dike, this is a remarkable turn around from where he was this time in 2012. Back then his stock was not highly regarded and many Timbers fans wouldn't have cared too much if he had been traded. However, after going on loan to the LA Blues for a few months and regaining his form, he proceeded to score goal after goal for the Portland Timbers. Since then he's only gotten better and better, seemingly enough so to score on a Carles Puyol-led defensive backline.
Nothing is certain, however, and Dike certainly won't be jetting off on a million-dollar transfer fee. His spot in the Africa Cup of Nations isn't even a sure-thing yet. Still, as a striker Dike did the one thing he is supposed to do: score. That alone will at least make his future prospects with his national team a bit cheerier.
Here's the goal:
What do you think of Dike scoring today? What are your hopes for him in 2013?