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Aigbogun: Flying Eagles Can’t Afford To Fail At 2019 U-20 AFCON

Aigbogun: Flying Eagles Can’t Afford To Fail At 2019 U-20 AFCON

The Flying Eagles will take it one game at a time while remaining ambitious to win the ultimate prize at the 2019 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Niger Republic which holds from February 2 to February 17, coach Paul Aigbogun has stated.

The seven-time African champions will battle host nation Niger Republic, South Africa and Burundi in Group A of the competition, with only the two top–placed teams to progress to the semi-finals and guaranteed automatic berths at this summer’s FIFA U-20 World Cup finals in Poland scheduled for 23rd May to 15th June..

“We must first plan on earning a ticket to the World Cup finals, ” Aigbogun told thenff.com.

“There would definitely be no margin for error in the first two matches. Once we are able to secure maximum points from the first two matches, we would have one leg at the World Cup.

“Afterwards, we would then begin to plan for the trophy. Focus and tactics must be for one match at a time. We cannot afford to falter.”

Also Read: U-20 AFCON: Sweden-Based Paschal Replaces Injured Okoh

Meanwhile team Administrator Aliyu Ibrahim Lawal confirmed on Monday that the Flying Eagles delegation will depart for Niamey, venue of their group phase matches, Thursday morning, 31st January 2019.


Goalkeepers: Akpan Udoh (Unattached); Olawale Oremade (Oasis FC); Detan Ogundare (Kogi United)

Defenders: Mike Zaruma (Plateau United); Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba FC); Igoh Ogbu (Rosenburg FC, Norway); Solomon Ogberahwe (El-Kanemi Warriors); Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba FC); Olasunkanmi Aliyu (Emmanuel Amuneke Academy)

Midfielders: Peter Eletu (Prince Kazeem Academy); Quadri Liameed (36 Lions); Aniekeme Okon (Akwa United); Jamil Muhammad (Kano Pillars); Afeez Aremu (IK Start, Norway)

Forwards: Adamu Alhassan (Kano Pillars); Yahaya Nazifi (Sonderjyske FC, Denmark); Ibrahim Aliyu (Oasis FC); Adeshina Gata (Wikki Tourists); Ibrahim Abubakar (Plateau United); Onyekachi Paschal (Vaxjo United, Sweden); Maxwell Effiom (Enyimba FC).

By Johnny Edward
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  • These guys I saw in the picture are all more than 30years.that why our football will always be on decline.

    • Igbekun Abo 2 years ago

      Na tru sha. This boys look like men no be small .

      If e look like panadol, taste like panadol, e be panadol joor.

  • Oakfield 2 years ago

    What is your problem, this man? are not aware that Nigerians and west Africans in general are naturally big and masculine in nature? Abeg, finish ur eba wey no get maggi before u talk….

  • Edoman of NewJersey,USA 2 years ago

    These young Nigerians will, no doubt, make Nigerians every where proud. They look good and strong, ready to take on Africa.

  • I’m hardly thrilled by our under-20 team as most of the players are obviously well over aged. Remember, no MRI test to fish out age cheats as obtainable in the under-17 category.
    I make bold to allude that about 96% of this present Nigeria under-20 players are well above 20 years of age. We all know how a true under-20 lad looks like.

  • Abah-fada 2 years ago

    This guys are over age. The are above 20, we shouldn’t be deceive, Africa is known for age cheat, others do it too, but, it is our tradition and culture to cheat in everything that has a value price attached as Nigerian first, and as Africans in general.

    • @Abah-fada, if the age cheat gap had been like 1-3 years (like maybe the Europeans do), nobody would have bat an eyelid. But, common, as much as 10 years cut off!? These guys are not just over-age, they look like 30+ years old! Some of them are married with a kid or 2 already. Haba! How many of the Zambian “under 20” squad that appeared to “do well” at that last Fifa world cup are still active? — with the exception of Patson Dhaka and Enock Nwepu (who looked younger). Even Fashion Sinkala is getting tired.

      The sad thing is Europeans know these things and hardly take the results of Under 20 and Under 17 Fifa world cups serious or are wowed when an African team wins it. We, Ghana and now Zambia always do “well” at these levels, but can hardly get past the group stage at the real world cup. What then happened? Isn’t there supposed to be a natural progression? Of Siasia’s set in 2005, only Mikel, Ogbuke and Taiye Taiwo went on to do well and play for the SE. Even at that, only Mikel is still in the SE (as he was really Under 20 in 2005). I’m disappointed Aigbogun wants to continue with this unwholesome trend. I thought he would be different. I guess the pressure to come out successful at whatever cost is higher for the coaches.

      • Dr. Drey 2 years ago

        ……not to forget our 2008 olympics team. Imagine Osaze went as an overaged player as a 28 yr old back then, but majority of that team retired or faded away from football before Osaze. Thank God for MRI, that’s what is helping us currently as many of our successful U17 players are now main stays of the Senior national team just 4-5 years down the line, which is the way it is supposed to be.

      • My bro,may God bless you aplenty. I can’t agree more with your allusion.
        Even the coaches glaringly know these lads are well above 20 years of age,but they would rather stick to them than go fishing for truly under-20 players.This insalubrious trend of age cheating explains why I don’t get thrilled by our participation at Under-20 and Under-23 football tournaments especially. The introduction of MRI screening has considerably help stem the tide at the U-17 level.
        Just take a cursory look at the faces and physiques of our “under-20” players in the caption picture of this story and the truth will be revealed.
        Haba, we all know how a truly Under-20 lad looks like na!

  • FIFA is looking to introduce MRI scans for the under 20world cup. Maybe then people will move onto something else to gripe about.

    MRI scans for under 17 were introduced in 2009 and since then we have come second once and won the under 17 world cup twice.

    Our problem at under 20 is not fielding over aged players, rather it is that our players are snapped up in Europe and then the clubs refuse to release them for national duty. So we have to start the under 20 from scratch.

    Look at the Wafu cup recently. All three keepers went looking for deals, two in Argentina and one else where. Two Kano Pillars players were undergoing trials in Denmark. That meant a whole set of keepers and half the team never played club football before.

    This squad had Watford player Jordan Bennetts training with them, but he was not allowed to feature in the tournament by his club and was recalled.

    Yusuff Ojebode also not released by West Bromwich Albion and the list goes on. I don’t believe these players are grossly over aged, we shout our dirty linen in public too much.

    One way to resolve this issue is fit our club sides to have age group teams or to match up with local academies to groom youngsters, give them league experience as well as schooling and in only two football seasons we will be unbeatable at all age group continental competitions