Awoniyi, Azubuike's arrival light up U-23 Eagles camp

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Victor Osimhen has scored nine goals and can break the record in the final Photo: ESPN
Victor Osimhen has scored nine goals and can break the record in the final
Photo: ESPN

There was excitement in the camp of Nigeria’s U-23 Eagles in Gambia when the duo of Dream Team Captain Azubuike Okechukwu and striker Taiwo Awoniyi arrived the Flourish Wellness Resort camp of the team.

The players, who arrived aboard a Royal Air Maroc flight at about 3am Tuesday, were received by the team Secretary Sirajo Hassan who was on ground to ensure they had little difficulties at the immigration.

It was during breakfast that the players and officials met with them, and it was fun, with rib cracking jokes from team mates and officials.

Speaking, Captain Azubuike said he is always excited coming to play for the country, as it was the platform given him by the national team that has made him to become a foreign-based professional player.

“Even though I am a little bit tired after playing for my club over the weekend, I still see this national team all up as my little way to say a big thank you to my country for the opportunity given to me in the past has made me become what I am today, ” the website of Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, quoted Azubuike to have said.

On his part, striker Taiwo Awoniyi who was looking very refreshed and youthful said: “this is work time, qualifying for the Rio Olympics is non-negotiable as we have no excuse to give Nigerians. That’s why we have to put in our best to get something out of Senegal.”

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With the arrival of both players the camp of the Dream Team is now complete as striker Junior Ajayi had already arrived camp earlier.

Meanwhile, the head coach of the U-23 national team, Dream Team, Samson Siasia has selected Chile U-17 World Cup highest goal scorer Victor Osihmen and 20 other players to represent Nigeria at this month’s Africa U-23 Cup of Nations coming up in Senegal.

According to the list released by Coach Siasia in Banjul, after the team’s second friendly game against the Gambian U-20 national team, Baby Scorpions, the Chile revelation will be joined by captain of the team and Turkey-based defensive midfielder Azubuike Okechukwu who is leading a list of three foreign professionals which include Liverpool’s Taiwo Awoniyi and CS Sfaxien of Tunisia’s Ajayi Junior.

From the home front, old reliables such as Rangers of Enugu goal tender Emmanuel Daniel, Warri Wolves Oghenekaro Etebo, Bayelsa United’s Tonbara Tiongoli, Sincere Seth, Segun Oduduwa and Ndifreke Effiong were among the lucky ones, while there were some new faces such as Seun Olulayo, Godspower Aniefiok, Kufre Ebong, Zaradeen Bello amongst others.

The full list of selected players

1. Emmanuel Daniel
2. Yusuf Mohammed
3. Emmanuel Iwu
4. Segun Oduduwa
5. Sincere Seth
6. Azubuike Okechukwu
7. Ajayi Junior
8. Oghenekaro Etebo
9. Taiwo Awoniyi
10. Usman Mohammed
11. Ndifreke Effiong
12. Chukwuebuka Iroha
13. Stanley Dimgba
14. Godspower Aniefiok
15. Bature Yaro‎
16. Zaradeen Bello
17. Amaefule Chizoba
18. Seun Olulayo
19. Tiongoli Tonbara
20. Kufre Ebong
21. Victor Osimhen