Utin, Yahaya, Effiom top Flying Eagles’ list for U-20 African Nations Cup
Team Captain, Ikouwem Udo Utin and forwards Yahaya Nazifi and Effiom Maxwell are in the list of 21 players of Nigeria’s U-20 squad that will battle for honours at next month’s Africa U20 Cup of Nations in Niger Republic, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said.
Enyimba FC wingback, Utin won a silver medal at the African Nations Championship in Morocco last year, while youth sensation Nazifi recently signed a contract with a Danish club and Maxwell was Man-of-the-Match in the 4-2 defeat of Ghana’s Black Satellites at the WAFU U-20 Cup Tournament in Togo last month.
According to a statement by the NFF, Aigbogun has also included goalkeepers Detan Ogundare, Akpan Udoh and Olawale Oremade, as well as defender Mike Zaruma, midfielders Peter Eletu, Quadri Liameed and Aniekeme Okon, and forwards Adeshina Gata and Ibrahim Abubakar.
Defender Valentine Ozornwafor, who plays for Enyimba International FC of Aba, midfielder Jamil Muhammad of Kano Pillars and Oasis FC forward Ibrahim Aliyu have also been included in the Nigeria squad.
The seven-time African champions will be buoyed by three foreign–based professionals, including Igoh Ogbu of Rosenburg FC of Norway, Afeez Aremu of IK Stat FC, also in Norway and Denmark–based Nazifi.
The list has been submitted to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the NFF said.
Nigeria will meet Burundi’s Junior Itamba in their first match of the 2019 Africa U20 Cup of Nations on February 2 at the Stade General Seyni Kountche, hours after Niger Republic’s Junior Mena would have fought it out with South Africa’s Amajita in the competition’s opening match at the same venue.
The Flying Eagles would then play South Africa on February 5 before tangling with Niger Republic on February 8 in their final match of the group phase.
In the full team are goalkeepers, Akpan Udoh (Unattached); Olawale Oremade (Oasis FC) and Detan Ogundare (Kogi United). The defenders are Mike Zaruma (Plateau United); Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba International); Igoh Ogbu (Rosenburg FC, Norway); Solomon Ogberahwe (El-Kanemi Warriors); Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba International) and Olasunkanmi Aliyu (Emmanuel Amuneke Academy).
The midfielders include Peter Eletu (Prince Kazeem Academy); Quadri Liameed (36 Lions); Aniekeme Okon (Akwa United); Jamil Muhammad (Kano Pillars); and Afeez Aremu (IK Stat, Norway), while the attack features Adamu Alhassan (Kano Pillars); Yahaya Nazifi (Sonderjyske FC, Denmark); Ibrahim Aliyu (Oasis FC); Adeshina Gata (Wikki Tourists); Ibrahim Abubakar (Plateau United); Okoh Victor (Real Sapphire FC); and Maxwell Effiom (Enyimba International).