After weeks of training, Nigerian Under-20 coach Paul Aigbogun has chosen his final squad to represent Nigeria in the 2019 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Poland starting this month.
Several players, who were in action in February when Nigeria finished fourth in the 2019 Under-20 African Cup of Nations, will be in the team for the World Cup. These include the team captain Ikouwem Udoh as well as Igho Ogbu, Effiom Maxwell, Olawale Oremade and Valentine Ozornwafor who has just signed to join Galatasaray next year.
Some players will battle with the Flying Eagles for the first time. These are Kingsley Michael, Tom Dele-Bashiru, Henry Offia and Nnamdi Ofoborh.
The Eagles have done well in a couple of friendly games they played so far. At the end of April, they played Freiburg. The match finished a 3:3 draw. Offia and Dele-Bashiru scored their maiden goals while Jerome Akor added the third one for Nigeria.
On Tuesday, 14th May, the youngsters faced Red Bull Salzburg youngsters in Austria. That game also finished in a draw. Tijani Muhammed scored for the Flying Eagles.
Before jetting off to Poland for the final preparations, Nigeria will play against RB Leipzig on May 17th in yet another test game.
Nigeria has never won the World Cup. They finished second twice and third once. Last time they played was in 2015 when they made it out of the group stage but lost to Germany in the Last 16 encounter.
The World Cup will start on May 23rd while Nigeria will take on Qatar in their opening group match on May 24th in Tychy. Then they will play the United States on May 27th with their last group match scheduled for May 30th against Ukraine.
To summarise; nine players have left the camp on Tuesday leaving the 21-strong team who will compete in Poland. The core of the team will consist of the home-based footballers. Here is a complete list of the chosen players:
Olawale Oremade (Kwara United); Detan Ogundare (Kogi United FC); Jonathan Zaccala (Triestina FC)
Jamil Muhammad (Kano Pillars); Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba); Muhammad Rabiu (Plateau United); Aliu Salawudeen (Amuneke Academy); Igoh Ogbu (Rosenborg BK) and Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba)
Effiom Maxwell (Enyimba); Nnamdi Ofoborh (Bournemouth); Aniekeme Okon (Akwa United); Eletu Peter (Prince Kazeem FC); Ayotomiwa Dele-Bashiru (Manchester City); Collins Sor (Oasis FC); Kingsley Michael (Perugia)
Henry Offia (IK Sirius Uppsala); Jerome Adams (Sogndal IL); Tijani Muhammed (FC Banik Ostrava); Success Makanjuola (Water FC) and Chinonso Emeka (Club Brookhouse)
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