Despite winning the Africa Youth Championship without them, Flying Eagles striker Taiwo Awoniyi says they will be a better team with the additions of Kelechi Iheanacho, Musa Yahaya, Isaac Success and Chidiebere Nwakalai to the team.
Nwakali, Iheanacho, Yahaya and Success all missed out on the AYC win in Senegal for various reasons, but their absence notwithstanding; Nigeria still emerged as the best team at the tournament.
But Awoniyi believes they will be even better if those players are added to the current team.
“First we really missed Nwakali, Yahaya, Success and Iheanacho in Senegal. It would have been better with them, “he said
“But we will need them for the World Cup because they will make us a better team. We want to win the World Cup so we need the best players we can get. These guys, when they come, will make us a better team and that will help us win the World Cup,” he said.
Asked if he doesn’t think the inclusion of those players might cost him a place in the World Cup party, the 17-year old replies by saying he’s never scared of a challenge.
“Why would I be worried about losing my place? We all will fight for shirts and I’m not scared.
“They were there when we won the U17 World Cup and I was there too. I made that team with them so I’m not scared. Like I said, it will make us better which I think is what we need going to the World Cup.
“I pray they’re injury-free and their clubs release them on time so we can prepare well as a team. But I’m sure they’ll bring some positives to our team,” he added.
Kelechi Iheanacho, Musa Yahaya, Isaac Success, Kelechi Nwakali, Godwin Saviour, Wilfred Ndidi and Aliyu Abubakar were part of the list submitted to FIFA on deadline day.
Others listed are Joshua Enaholo, Olorunleke Ojo, Dele Alampasu, Musa Muhammed, Mustapha Abdullahi, Izuchukwu Omego, Abdulganiyu Saheed, Zaharadeen Bello, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Obinna Nwobodo, Ifeanyi Matthew, Chidera Ezeh, Taiwo Awoniyi and Bernard Bulbwa.
The Flying Eagles will meet five-time U20 world champions Brazil, North Korea and Hungary in Group E at the World Cup.