Head Coach of the U-20 National Team, Manu Garba, has released a list of 35 players from which a final list of 21 will emerge to represent Nigeria at this year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup finals in New Zealand.
The list, predictably, includes the new champions of Africa – those who flew the country’s flag to win a seventh African Youth Championship in Senegal – last month.
A half-dozen of the players feature for Nigeria Premier League clubs – the rest are either with youth teams of top clubs in Europe or with lower league or academy outfits.
Energetic skipper Musa Muhammed and Manchester City whiz kid Kelechi Iheanacho top the list that has four goalkeepers, 10 defenders, 10 midfielders and 11 strikers.
There are also goalkeeper Joshua Enaholo, defenders Zaharaddeen Bello, Mustapha Abdullahi and Prince Omego, midfielders Akinjide Idowu, Abdullahi Alfa, Bernard Bulbwa and Ifeanyi Mathew, and forwards Taiwo Awoniyi, Chidera Ezeh and Alhassan “Muazzam’ Abdullahi.
Other top performers in Nigeria’s glorious run at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in United Arab Emirates in 2013, Success Isaac, Wilfred Ndidi, Chidiebere Nwakali and Musa Yahaya, who did not feature in Senegal, are called, as are Super Eagles’ new boys Kingsley Sokari and Moses Simon. All 35 players are expected to report at the Serob Legacy Hotel, Abuja on April 12 for the first phase of the preparations.
FULL LIST: Goalkeepers: Adamu Abubakar (Flash FC); Dele Alampasu (Football College Academy); Joshua Enaholo (MFM FC); Olorunleke Ojo (Giwa FC)
Defenders: Musa Muhammed (FC Heart Academy); Saheed Abdul-Ganiyu (Ace Academy); Adebayo Ademilua (Nath Boys); Monsuru Bashiru (MFM FC); Zaharaddeen Bello (Dabo Babes Academy); Abdullahi Mustapaha (Spotlight FC); Wilfred Ndidi (KRC Genk, Belgium); Samuel Okon (Greater Tomorrow Academy); Prince Omego (Apapa Golden Stars); Rowland Silas (Airforce FC)
Midfielders: Abdullahi Alfa (Football College Academy); Bernard Bulbwa (Esperance FC, Tunisia); Akinjide Idowu (Nigeria Young Academy); Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (Water FC); Wasiu Jimoh (Kwara Academy); Ifeanyi Mathew (El-Kanemi Warriors); Chidebere Nwakali (Manchester City, England); Obinna Nwobodo (Enugu Rangers); Kingsley Sokari (Enyimba FC); Musa Yahaya (Tottenham Hotspurs, England)
Forwards: Alhassan Abdullahi (FC Heart); Taiwo Awoniyi (Imperial Academy); Chidera Ezeh (FC Porto, Portugal); Okechukwu Gabriel (Water FC); Saviour Godwin (FC Sports); Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City, England); Success Isaac (Granada FC, Spain); Billy Michael (El-Cruzeiro FC); Christian Pyagbara (Dolphins FC); Usman Sani Sale (Wikki Tourists); Moses Simon (Kaa Gent, Belgium).