9th June, 2013
Nigeria have named a final 21-man squad for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, which kicks off on 20 June.
Nigeria U-17 international Wilfred Ndidi, a highly promising central defender, is one of the several additions to the squad.
The squad is drawn mostly from the Nigerian league, which provides 18 players, with three foreign-based professionals.
The pros are Belgium-based goalkeeper John Felegha, Michael Olaitan from Greek champions Olympiacos and Edafe Egbedi of Danish club AGF Aarhus.
Sixteen of these players featured at the 2013 African Youth Championship, AYC, in Algeria, where Nigeria placed third to qualify for the World Cup.
The Flying Eagles were knocked out by France in the quarterfinals of the 2011 World Cup in Colombia. They are drawn in the first round against Portugal, debutants Cuba and South Korea. Their opening game is on June 21 against Portugal.
Meanwhile, Coach John Obuh has said that he has learnt from the mistakes they made in the previous competitions, adding that they would put into proper use all the experiences they have garnered in such tournaments.
At the invitational Toulon tournament, the Flying Eagles, failed to shine, recording just two draws and two losses, with no win in the competition.
“The experience I have from the finals in Colombia in 2011, or even from 2009, when we hosted the Under-17 World Cup finals, is something that I can use now as we prepare for Turkey. It will also come to good use at the finals themselves,” Obuh told FIFA.com.
“There is no group that is cheap. All are strong nations, some are very strong,” Obuh said. “We conducted a training camp in Germany with 30 players and then I took 23 of them to the Toulon tournament, where several of the other teams that will compete in Turkey were also playing. The seven players that I left behind were those who were already in my plans. I wanted to give the other players a chance to show me what they can do.”
Goalkeepers: Samuel Okani (Enyimba), Jonah Usman (ABS FC), John Felegha (Eupen, Belgium).
Defenders: Shehu Abdullahi (Kano Pillars), Moses Orkuma (Lobi Stars), Ikechukwu Okorie (Enyimba), Kingsley Madu (El Kanemi), Chizoba Amaefule (Dolphins), Wilfred Ndidi (Nath Boys).
Midfielders: Agboyi Ovbokha (Bayelsa United), Abduljaleel Ajagun (Dolphins), Christian Pyagbara (unattached), Uche Agbo (Enyimba), Michael Olaitan (Olympiacos, Greece).
Forwards: Edafe Egbedi (AGF Aarhus, Denmark), Daddy Moses Simon (Unattached), Chidi Osuchukwu (Dolphins), Umar Aminu (Wikki Tourists), Olanrewaju Kayode (unattached), Alhaji Gero (Enugu Rangers), Samuel Eduok (Dolphins).