Posted by: westafricanfootball | 27/05/2012

THE NIGERIA U-20 NATIONAL FOOTBALL TEAM

The Nigeria U-20 national football team will most likely be eliminated from the Cape Town U-20 International friendly tournament after losing to both Ghana U-20 and Argentina U-20. Based on their squad for the tournament, I am not very surprised. To be honest, this is the weakest Flying Eagles squad I have ever seen. A friend, who is a scout, is witnessing the tournament and described the Nigerian team as “horrible”. He suggested that no player from worth following after the tournament. These are perhaps harsh words but personally, I cannot understand how the Nigeria Football Federation can put together a squad consisting of fringe players and reserve players from Nigerian Premier League clubs, unknown players from second and third level clubs and even unattached players.

I guess about 1/3 of all players in the Nigeria Premier League is (supposedly) under 20 years old and if these 25 players are the best of the best, I am worried about the future of Nigerian football.

To be fair, I guess some of the best clubs in Nigeria could have denied their best U-20 players to participate in the tournament. The teams in Nigeria are playing a lot of matches in May and many coaches will probably dislike to lose key players to a friendly tournament.

According to the official homepage of the tournament, http://www.8nationschallenge.com/, this is the official squad:

OKANI  / CHUKWUNENYE SAMUEL

OYEDIRAN / LEKAN YUSUF

INNOCENT / SIMON

PATRICK/ KINGSLEY ONYEBUCHI

GERO / SALIU ABDULLAHI

ORKUMA / MOSES

ANAEZEMBA / NZUBE PIUS

SHEHU / ABDULLAHI

OKORIE / IKECHUKWU

IZUEGBU / ABONIMA BONIFACE

OMEROU / LUCKY

UMAR / AMINU

FREDRICK / OBOMATE ANABRABA

OLA / TAIYE

CHRISTIAN / JOSIAH OBINNA

AGBO / UCHE HENRY

SAIDU / ABDULLAHI MOHAMMED

IDRIS / HABU

AMAEFULE / CHIZOBA JOHNBUSCO

ALIMI / SIKIRU ADEWALE

EZENWAKA / NNADOZIE UGONNA

WILLIAMS / JACOB ABOBO

BRAYE / BROWN

ALUKO / TOLULOPE SAMUEL

BINUYO / LOOKMAN A. KADIRI

In this post, I will write a short profile on all players in the squad.

SAMUEL OKANI

Club: Jigawa Golden Stars FC or Enyimba FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Goalkeeper

* Okani is a petit goalkeeper who is totally unknown to me. His full name is either “Chukwunonye Samuel Okani” or “Chukwunenye Samuel Okani”. To be honest, I am a bit confused by this player. In April 2012, Okani was playing for Jigawa Golden Stars FC according to MTN Football, Complete Sports Nigeria, and most other sources. However, MTN Football recently wrote that Okani is playing for Enyimba FC. In any case, I have never heard of this player and if he is playing for Enyimba FC, he is most likely miles away from the first team. Okani was team captain when Nigeria U-20 lost 2-3 against Ghana U-20 on 25.05.2012. Apparently, Okani had a good game. According to some sources, Okani was one of the smallest players on the field.

LEKAN OYEDIRAN

Club: Ajiroba-Ooni FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Goalkeeper

* Oyediran, sometimes referred to as “Yusuf Oyediran”, is a goalkeeper playing at second level side Ajiroba-Ooni FC, based in Ilé-Ifè in south-western Nigeria.

SIMON INNOCENT

Club: Niger Tornadoes FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Attacker / Defender

* Innocent has played regularly for Niger Tornadoes FC this season but has not caught any headlines and he has yet to score his first top level goal. Confusingly, Innocent is referred to as a defender by some sources but as an attacker by most sources.

PATRICK KINGSLEY

Club: Sharks FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Right-back / Central midfielder

* Kingsley, sometimes referred to as “Patrick Kingsley Onyebuchi”, has been a fringe player at Sharks FC for the last couple of seasons. According to 2muchsports, Kingsley is born 13.04.1987. It is difficult to say whether this is the correct date of birth.

ALHAJI GERO

Club: Rangers International FC

DOB: 10.10.1993

Position: Striker

* Gero is a big and strong centre-forward. Alhaji played 14 matches without scoring a goal for Kaduna United FC before he joined Rangers during the mid-season transfer window. Gero has scored two league goals since joining the current leaders of the Nigeria Premier League. I think it is fair to say that Gero is one of the most interesting players in the Nigerian squad. My friend, who watched Gero when against both Ghana U-20 and Argentina U-20, described him as a powerful but rather clumsy player.

MOSES ORKUMA

Club: Lobi Stars FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Central midfielder

* I have to admit that I was surprised to find Orkuma’s name in the squad list. In March 2011, Orkuma gave an interview to Daily Trust, explaining that he was born on 19.07.1990:

http://sundaytrust.com.ng/?option=com_content&view=article&id=6426&catid=7&Itemid=113

However, according to 2muchsports, Orkuma is born 19.06.1993. In any case, Orkuma is a good player, described as a “lion-hearted playmaker”. It is difficult to define which of the two that is the correct date of birth. Orkuma is rather petit, but he uses his strength well, working hard and never letting his opponent rest. Orkuma has scored two league goals so far this season.

NZUBE ANAEZEMBA

Club: Enyimba FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Left-winger

* Last season, Anaezemba won promotion with Rising Stars FC before joining Enyimba FC before the Nigeria Premier League 2012. Anaezemba has scored two league goals so far this season and has made several impressive performances. The tricky winger can also play as a support striker. I would rate Anaezemba as one of the most interesting players in the squad.

ABDULLAHI SHEHU

Club: Kano Pillars FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Central midfielder

* Most experts thought Shehu would be a key player during the tournament. Pillars signed Shehu from Plateau United FC before the current season and the youngster has been largely impressive for the title-chasers from Kano. Shehu, an athletic and elegant player, has yet to score a goal for his new club, but scored twice for Plateau United FC during the Nigeria Premier League 2010-2011.

IKECHUKWU OKORIE

Club: Kaduna United FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Central defender / Defensive midfielder

* Okorie is yet another unknown player to me. He scored two penalty goals against Kwara United FC on 13.05.2012 and has featured regularly for Kaduna United FC this season. A player called “Ikechukwu Okorie” was part of the Nigeria U-23 national football team in 2007, most likely a different player.

ABONIMA IZUEGBU

Club: Sharks FC

DOB: 27.11.1994

Position: Central defender / Defensive midfielder

* Izuegbu is a strong and versatile player. Izuegbu, often referred to as Abonima Arinze Izuegbu, has been impressive for second level side 36 Lions FC. Apparently, Izuegbu has recently joined Sharks FC.

LUCKY OMEROU

Club: Bayelsa United FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Winger / Attacking midfielder

* Promising player at second level side Bayelsa United FC where he has scored two goals this season.

AMINU UMAR

Club: Wikki Tourists FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Striker / Winger

* Umar has scored one league goal for Wikki Tourists FC this season, as far as I know his first season at top level. Umar is a promising striker. The picture is of Umar and was found on MTN Football.

FREDRICK OBOMATE

Club: Sharks FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Defender / Midfielder

* Obomate is an unknown player to me. He is most likely playing for the reserves of Sharks FC in Port Harcourt.

TAIYE OLA  

Club: Enyimba FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Midfielder

* Ola is a fringe player at Enyimba FC, not playing regularly for the first team. However, I know that Ola is highly regarded at the club and he is probably a player to look out for in the future. According to 2muchsports, Ola is born 14.04.1995.

CHRISTIAN JOSIAH

Club: C.O.D United FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Striker

* Somewhat of a mystery man to me. City of David United FC, mostly referred to as C.O.D United FC, has a great homepage and I am not able to find any player called “Christian Josiah” in their list of players or in their line-up from the first seven matches of the season. I am not able to find a player called “Christian Josiah” in their list of scorers from the next seven matches either. However, according to unconfirmed sources, a “Christian Josiah” has scored a couple of goals for C.O.D United FC during the FA Cup earlier this season.

UCHE AGBO

Club: Enyimba FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Attacking midfielder

* Enyimba FC signed Agbo from JUTH FC before the current season. According to 2muchsports, Agbo is born in 1991, making him too old for the Nigeria U-20 national football team. According to http://foetbal247.wordpress.com/category/fresh-blood/, Agbo is born 30.01.1991. In any case, Agbo is an elegant midfielder who has done well for Enyimba FC. He has scored one goal so far this season. Agbo is a former player of FC Taraba.

IDRIS HABU

Club: Unknown

DOB: Unknown

Position: Unknown

* Habu scored one league goal for Gombe United FC during the Nigeria Premier League 2010-2011. I have no record of the player from the current season. According to 2muchsports, Habu is born 12.10.1993.

CHIZOBA AMAEFULE

Club: Remo FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Defender

* Amaefule was a fringe player at Sharks FC during the Nigeria Premier League 2010-2011. According to 2muchsports, he is born 28.10.1993. Amaefule is currently playing for second level side Remo FC, based in Sagamu in southwestern Nigeria.

ABDULLAHI SAIDU

Club: Unknown

DOB: Unknown

Position: Midfielder

* Completely unknown player to me.

SIKIRU ALIMI

Club: Union Bank FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Striker

* Sikiru, a completely unknown player to me, is apparently playing at third level of Nigerian football.

UGONNA EZENWAKA

Club: Ocean Boys FC

DOB: 18.01.1992

Position: Midfielder

* Ezenwaka, the midfield general of struggling Ocean Boys FC, is probably one of the best players in the squad. I have previously presented Ezenwaka in my post from 17.05.2012:

https://westafricanfootball.com/2012/05/17/ugonna-ezenwaka/

Ezenwaka has already turned 20 so I was a bit surprised to find him in a Nigeria U-20 squad.

JACOB ABOBO WILLIAMS

Club: Unknown

DOB: Unknown

Position: Goalkeeper

* Williams is one of the backup goalkeepers in the squad. He is completely unknown to me and apparently unattached at the time of writing.

BROWN BRAYE

Club: Nembe City FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Defender

* Braye, sometimes referred to as “Brown Braye Okpus”, is apparently playing for Nembe City FC at second level of Nigerian football.

TOLU ALUKO

Club: FRSC Strikers FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Central defender / Left-back

* Aluko is playing at second level of Nigerian football for FRSC Strikers FC. Apparently, he had a terrible game at left-back when Nigeria U-20 lost 2-3 against Ghana U-20 on 25.05.2012. His full name is “Tolulope Samuel Aluko”.

BINAYO LUKMAN

Club: Union Bank FC

DOB: Unknown

Position: Midfielder

* Lukman, a completely unknown player to me, is apparently playing at third level of Nigerian football.


Responses

  1. Nice programme but how long will that last

  2. Dear Sir, thanks! That is good to hear! Best regards, Øivind

  3. I saw the team at capetown and all your comment looks right, great work


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