The FIFA U-17 World is set to kick off in Brazil tomorrow, October 26, with five-time world champions, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria set to continue its superb form which has seen it stun the world on five different occasions.
However, many Nigerians do not know the boys selected by the Manu Garba led coaching crew.
We bring you a profile of the 21 lucky players who are poised to do Nigeria proud and the cadet Mundial.
Stephen is the team’s number one shot stopper after he replaced the fumbling Suleman Shuaibu at the U17 AFCON in Tanzania.
Oluwabusola is a goalkeeper who has since been released by AFC Bournemouth Academy. He was also in Tanzania but did not see action. He commands his goal area with a lot of confidence.
He is from the West Ham Academy in England and will be third choice in Brazil.
Ibrahim is the only player promoted from the Nigeria U-16 team to the Golden Eaglets. He now plays in the heart of the defence in place of David Ishaya who was the team’s pillar in Tanzania but missed the trip to Brazil, no thanks to a niggling ankle injury. He is striker-turned-defender who is effective and cool under pressure.
Ikenna enjoyed a great central defence partnership with Ishaya at the U17 AFCON so much so that he was noticed by several European clubs.
Etim is a fullback who was picked ahead of Ogaga Oduko who was in Tanzania. Etim loves to join the attack and scored a great goal against Korea in a World Cup warm-up in Brazil this week.
Edun is a recent addition to the back four which coach Manu Garba has insisted must improve on dealing with set pieces.
The exciting IB Sports Dreams of Abuja star has bounced back to top reckoning after he featured at last year’s zonal qualifiers but missed out on the trip to Tanzania after he fractured his leg. The right fullback could also play as a right wing back or in the heart of the back four. Has great techniques.
Samson Tijani (Captain)
Tijani is a highly-rated defensive midfielder who has been part of the team right from the zonal qualifiers, where he was voted the MVP of the tournament. He stabilizes the midfield and has a good long ball.
Francis Daniel ‘Dada’
Dada is a defensive midfielder from FC Hearts who made a late push to make it all the way to Brazil. ‘Dada’ has already caught the attention of Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr after he featured at the Bayern Munich World Youth Cup in Germany earlier this year.
Amoo is a stocky, bulldozing midfielder who caught the eye at both the Zonal qualifiers and the AFCON proper with his purposeful display upfront. He has already been linked with several top European clubs.
Agba is a midfield maestro on the books of Kano academy, Falala. Agba who scores his own fair share of goals, is one of the lynchpins of the Golden Eaglets. He was in Tanzania, but did not see a lot of action.
Jabaar is an exciting left-footed winger or midfielder who scored a great individual goal at the U-17 AFCON in Tanzania.
Opeyemi is a left-sided winger who has shone in the team’s World Cup warm-ups in Brazil thus far.
Another late gate crasher to the squad after he was not part of the squad at the various major tournaments involving the team.
Ibrahim is also another new addition to the squad, who will mainly be a cover in the team’s engine room.
Ubani is a hard working striker who is armed with a decent shot as he proved at the U-17 AFCON. He was recently at Belgian club Anderlecht.
Olusegun is the team’s star striker from ABS FC. He is powerfully built and in Brazil, could follow in the footsteps of great schoolboy stars like Kelechi Iheanacho, Isaac Success and Victor Osimhen.
The Enugu-born striker has come through the various age levels after showing great promise at a very young age.
Peter was recently discovered during an age grade tournament and he has proven that he has what it takes to stake a claim in the team. He, however, needs to step up his game to meet the standards required of the team strike force.
Bichi made the team at the last minute but not much is known of his abilities. There are however, rumours that he is the son of a high ranking military personnel in the country but we will have to see whether he is in the team on merit or not.