FIFA U-17 World Cup record top scorer Victor Osimhen scored thrice as the Flying Eagles defeated Kano-based Dabo Babes FC 5-0 in another friendly match on Saturday in their build-up to the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Nigeria U-20s had defeated SiaOne Academy 4-0 only a week before.
Osimhen was the man of the match at the FIFA Goal Project, Abuja as his first half hat-trick drew applause from an appreciable crowd that included Nigeria U-23 team coach Samson Siasia and former Super Eagles star Mutiu Adepoju.
Wolfsburg striker Osimhen opened scoring after just 25 seconds of play. He added a second in the 25th minute after some good work from the flanks by Samuel Chukwueze.
Chukwueze, bronze boot winner at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015, also had his name on the scorers’ sheet, combining well with Osimhen to slot the ball beyond a bemused Dabo Babes goalkeeper for the third goal of the match.
Osimhen came up with the fourth goal in the 43rd minute to complete his hat trick and make it a comfortable lead before Chukwudi Agor completed the rout in the 47th minute, running onto a through pass from Orji Okonkwo to fire home a long range shot which drew applause from the spectators.
In the second half, Flying Eagles coach Emmanuel Amuneke brought in new players and rested his key men.
The half produced little in form of excitement, as the Nigeria U-20s played safe to avoid unwanted injuries.
The match was the second in a series of friendly games lined up Amuneke for his wards as they intensify preparation for next month’s Africa U-20 Cup of Nations qualifying fixture with Burundi.
According to the Nigeria Football Federation, the process started with thirty players invited to the team’s Serob Legacy Hotel camp in Wuye. They were joined on arrival by over sixty other players at a routine screening exercise that lasted over two weeks after which the number was pruned down to 45, to allow the coaches concentrate more on individual abilities and group work.
Amuneke plans to play more friendly games against NPFL clubsides, with the hope that he can still identify some more league players within the age bracket to further fortify his team ahead of the first leg against Burundi on May 22 in Bujumbura. The winner of the two-legged tie will qualify for the final round of the CAF U-20 Cup of Nations qualifying series in July this year.
Eight teams will participate in the finals of the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Zambia next year, and it is from there that Africa’s four representatives to the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic would emerge.