Despite huge criticisms of their performances at the CAF U-20 AFCON, Newslegend.com.ng and Allnigeriasoccer’s IZUCHUKWU OKOSI runs the rule on seven Flying Eagles players who have showed promise in Niger and should be in the team to the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.
1. Yayaha Nazifi
The striker scored one goal in the CAF U-20 AFCON in Niger – the 2-0 win over the hosts and although he did not score again as the Flying Eagles finished fourth, his sheer talent and predatory instinct shows that he has the potential to be better than he is at the moment.
The progression of the youngster has been encouraging. He was in the U15 side that took part in the invitational tournament in South Africa in 2017.
2. Michael Effiom
Nimble footed Michael Effiom scored Nigeria’s second goal in that 2-0 win against Burundi.
Effiom is a trickery forward whose speed troubles the opposition defence. He will be an asset for the Flying Eagles in Poland.
3. Paschal Durugbor
Paschal Durugbor did not the credit he duly deserved but this lad (if he remains focused and fit) can be a star.
Durugbor grabbed Nigeria’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw versus Malli(4-3 win for Mali after extra time) in the semifinals and his attitude and industry either as a starter or a substitute off the bench was noticeably good.
4. Ibrahim Alhassan
Alhassan scored Nigeria’s goal in the last group match against, a 1-0 win over Niger which qualified the Flying Eagles for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.
Scoring isn’t the all that ends but his driving runs from midfield and shooting ability are promising.
5. Jamil Muhammad
Tenacious and combative, Muhammad was one of the key players in the Flying Eagles squad.
Muhammad played in all the team’s games in Niamey and proved to be ice cool from the penalty spot as he converted all his efforts from 12 yards.
The team’s vice captain Ozonwafor was one of the two Nigerian players in CAF’s Team of the Tournament alongside captain, Ikouwem Utin.
The central defender is arguably the best defender in the team. He was astute in his clearance, tackles and aerial duels.
His long strides and towering frame should be real strengths for Paul Aigbogun’s team.
7. Ikouwem Utin
Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr was in Niamey to cast his eyes on the Flying Eagles and has stated that he will have few of the players in his team for the 2019 AFCON qualifier and captain Utin who made the CAF Best XI is understandably the most likely of the players to be invited to the senior national team.
Great at primarily doing his defensive job, tracking back after surging forward and acting as cover for his central defensive teammates, Utin’s seat in the plane heading to Warsaw is not in doubt.