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John Lazarus, Alalade, 31 others to battle Libya for ticket


Enyimba of Aba forward, Wasiu Alalade

Lobi Stars defender, John Lazarus and Enyimba of Aba forward, Wasiu Alalade were among 33 players invited to camp yesterday by national U-23 team coach, Imama Amakapabo ahead of next month’s Africa U-23 Nations Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Libya.

The team of home-based players have four goalkeepers, nine defenders, ten midfielders and ten attackers.

Libya will host the first leg of the tie on any of the days from March 20 to 22, while the second leg will hold in Nigeria either on March 25 or 26.

According to, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has opted for March 25 for the return leg, with the expectation that their Libyan counterparts will opt for either March 20 or 21 for the first leg.

The invited players, who resumed camping in Abuja yesterday, are goalkeepers Amos Benjamin (Bayelsa United); Makanjuola Adewale (Ekiti United); Anozie Chinedu (FC IfeanyiUbah) and Stanley Nwabili (Enyimba FC).

Joining Lazarus in the defence are Chidera Eze (Rangers International); Anumudu Udochukwu (Lobi Stars); Austin Ugochukwu (Kano Pillars); Chinedu Ajana (Katsina United); Kehinde Adeyemi (Sunshine Stars); Ndah Olisah (Remo Stars); Chinwendu Ali (Yobe Stars); and Ebube Duru (Lobi Stars).

To vie for positions in the midfield are Ayobami Junior (Shooting Stars); Isah Ndala (Nasarawa United); William Ukeme (Wikki Tourists); Olatunji Matthew (Enyimba FC) and Seth Mayi (Plateau United).

Others are Yusuf Maigoro (Kano Pillars); Iwuala Anayo (Kada City); Cletus Emotan (Rivers United); Chigozie Obasi (Sunshine Stars) and Chukwudi Agor (ASJ, Owerri).

The forwards in the team are Etiboy Akpan (Akwa United); Anas Mohammed (Shooting Stars); Chijioke Alaekwe (FC IfeanyiUbah); Shamman Tanze (Kano Pillars); and Agboola Joshua (Katsina United).

Also in the team are Wari Williams (Nasarawa United); Ebuka Okeke (Lamray United); Tolu Ojo (Remo Stars); Wasiu Alalade (Enyimba FC) and Solomon Nsude (FC IfeanyiUbah).

Nigeria is the defending champion of the Africa U23 Cup of Nations, having defeated Algeria in the final of the second edition of the championship staged by Senegal in December 2015. That triumph earned the Olympic Eagles a ticket to the Men’s Football Tournament of the Rio 2016 Olympics, where they won the bronze medal – Nigeria’s only medal at the Games.

Assisting Amapakabo in the assignment are Kennedy Boboye (Assistant Coach), Fidelis Ilechukwu (Assistant Coach) and Etta Egbe (Goalkeepers’ Trainer).

Egypt will host the third Africa U-23 Cup of Nations from November 8 to 22, 2019.

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