Head Coach Paul Aigbogun has named Captain Ikouwem Utin, goalkeeper Olawale Oremade, midfielder Kingsley Michael and forward Henry Offia in his list of 21 players for this year’s FIFA U20 World Cup finals in Poland.
Also included are defender Valentine Ozornwafor – named in the Team of the Tournament at the U20 AFCON finals in Niger Republic in February – and vivacious attacking midfielder Effiom Maxwell.
Aigbogun spoke to the players over dinner at their Bad Goegging, Germany training camp on Monday where he unveiled the list.
The announcement by Aigbogun comes less than 24 hours before the team tackles Austrian club, Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian city of Salzburg on Tuesday evening. The squad’s final pre-World Cup friendly will be against Red Bull Leipzig in Germany on Friday, with the delegation to fly out of Germany to Tychy on Sunday.
The Flying Eagles, seven –time champions of the African continent, have finished as runners-up at the FIFA World Cup on two occasions – 1989 and 1995 – and took the bronze medals in the former Soviet Union 34 years ago.
Nigeria’s last appearance at the FIFA U20 World Cup was in New Zealand four years ago, where Coach Manu Garba’s wards were eliminated in the Round of 16 by Germany in Christchurch.
The Flying Eagles play Qatar, the United States of America and Ukraine in that order at the championship in Poland, with their first game against Qatar in Tychy on 24th May.
Goalkeepers: Detan Ogundare (Kogi United); Olawale Oremade (Kwara United; Jonathan Zaccala (Triestina FC, Italy).
Defenders: Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba FC); Aliu Salawudeen (Amuneke Academy); Igoh Ogbu (Rosenborg BK, Norway); Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba FC); Muhammad Rabiu (Plateau United); Jamil Muhammad (Kano Pillars).
Midfielders: Nnamdi Ofoborh (AFC Bournemouth, England); Eletu Peter (Prince Kazeem FC); Ayotomiwa Dele-Bashiru (Manchester City, England); Kingsley Michael (AC Perugia, Italy); Effiom Maxwell (Enyimba FC); Aniekeme Okon (Akwa United); Collins Sor (Oasis FC).
Forwards: Jerome Adams (Sogndal IL, Norway); Tijani Muhammed (FC Banik Ostrava, Czech Republic); Henry Offia (IK Sirius Uppsala, Sweden); Chinonso Emeka (Club Brookhouse, England); Success Makanjuola (Water FC).