U-20 AFCON: Aigbogun Assures Flying Eagles Will Fight And Beat Niger

U-20 AFCON: Aigbogun Assures Flying Eagles Will Fight And Beat  Niger

  • Flying Eagles head coach,  Paul Aigbogun insists the  team will give their all to ensure they come out with a win in Wednesday’s Group A clash against hosts Niger at the Africa U -20 Cup of Nations,  reports completesports.com.

  • Aigbogun’s charges top the Group A table with four points from two games,  a win and draw against Burundi and the Amajita of South Africa.

  • A draw will be enough for the seven-time champions to seal a spot in the semi-final of the competition  and a place at the FIFA U -20 World Cup in Poland coming up in May irrespective of the result in the other group game between Burundi and South Africa.

  • Aigbogun is however adamant his team will try to win the game and play for draw.”It’s a normal game that we could not avoid. One thing we know is that Niger is a good team,”
  • Aigbogun told reporters at his pre-match press conference at the Seyni Kountche Stadium on Thursday.

  • “Against South Africa it was difficult despite playing well but we will work hard against Niger. We will fight to win.”

  • By Adeboye Amosu

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  • Gbenga Ige 5 years ago

    Good job

  • Here is a damning allegation by a Ghanaian coach casting aspersions on the ages of Nigeria’s U20 players:


    • It’s all allegation but he has proffered no proof so not damning.

      His own team has faced exactly the same Alain from Namibia and I think he’s deflecting his team’s impending crash out of the competition.

      Senegal have already qualified for the semi final and the world cup and Mali will probably get the second spot in their group.

      I’ll pay attention when someone brings forth proof, like school attendance, conflicting dates or information that is unrefutable.

      The truth is you cannot tell a person’s age just by looking at them.

  • Edoman of NewJersey,USA 5 years ago

    The idea that you can tell a professional athletes (footballer)his age by your naked eye sight is self defeating and a downright nonsense. The Ghana guy takes the suggestion from this page which our own folks has put up in this place. Fellow Nigerians, mind your words or the opponents will use it against you. It is not cool to put your own fellow Nigerians down.

  • Dr. Drey 5 years ago

    Lets not all deceive ourselves, when you see a boy, you’ll know its a boy, when you see a teenager, you know its a teenager, when you see a man you’ll know its a man. There’s something we saw in the 2013 U17 boys that made all of us to unanimously agree that they were true u17s (apart from MRI confirmation), there are somethings we saw in the 2015 U17s that made us all to unanimously agree they were true u17s. You can tell someone’s age range by looking at them. This flying eagles team i’m seeing, majority of them are close to 30. Truth be told. It is not a mere coincidence that only Nazifi yahaya, and akpan udoh (the two youngest of them all mere looking at their faces) are the only ones who have represented our previous u17 teams. Its the same eyes that can see that the SAU20 team is truely U20 that are also seeing that there’s nothing U20 in our own team

    • PeePee 5 years ago

      God bless you for saying the truth. In fact I was so ashamed watching our boys against south Africa.

  • _ What does the future hold _

    The tone and angle to which I am looking at this debate is now changing from “age-cheat” to “future of under-21 international”.

    Yes, on the face of the, the current under-21 internationals do not look like youngsters however had “youngsters” being fielded all the way to the world cup, is it a guarantee that they will make it to the full national team and/or go on to have a stellar career in top flight football?

    _Age Cheat_

    I watched Ahmed Musa, Olanrewaju and co in 2011 overrun their opponents to set up a date with France in the Quarter-finals of that u-21 world cup only to come short because that French side matched their physicality.

    I am dubious about the real ages of that French side because many of them didn’t look like under-21 to me. In fact, Europeans as well have been accused of age-cheating.

    I remember reading an article in the where Man U and Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku’s mum had had to defend the age of her son in youth matches. She said: “People would say about Romelu that it was not right he was in the age group he played. That we were cheating, but I had to be clear with them: Romelu was born in Belgium, there was no question about his age.”(telegraph.co.uk/football/2017/07/21/making-romelu-lukaku-people-said-older-racism/)

    _Impact Post-Youth International_

    Now, moving beyond age controversies, it is becoming clear to me that whether a country fields players believed to be real under-21 or not, very few of these actually go on to have a glittering senior football career.

    Think about the England team that came to Nigeria in 1999 for the youth world cup, only 2 of them became real household names: Peter Crouch and Ashley Cole.

    Although England won the tournament 2 years ago, many of the players are still struggling to establish themselves in senior football; in fact, many of them are not expected to make the transition to the full England national team.

    In 1989, Michael Oyemachara, Chinedu Odiare, Angus Ikeji and co came close to lifting the Under-21 world cup for Africa for the first time however, of that illustrious squad, only one player (Mutiu Adepoju) had a senior national team career of marked-longevity.

    I guess all I am trying to say is that regardless of age-cheat controversy, under-21 internationals do not always transition to full senior internationals.

    Paradoxically, Nigeria actually do reasonably well. If you think of the under-20 squad of 2013 (6 years ago), 13 of them are still playing top flight football with 5 current full Super Eagles international (Agbo, Kayode, Ndidi, Simon and Shehu).

    But generally, many of them do not make it to meaningful senior football and that, for me, is the tone of the debate, not their age.

    • @Deo, many thanks and a detailed analysis. I read the Romelo Lukaku story as well. I also make reference to Abuchi Obinwa. He came from the USA to try for the Golden Eaglets in 2013. He failed the MRI test and was excluded from the squad. He went on to represent the USA in their regional Under 17 competition in the same year. This is a player who had documented proof of his age (American birth certificate, school records, health records) but was “too big” to be an under 17. However, he was allowed to represent the USA (despite failing an MRI test earlier) because they do not require the tests that they insist African countries go through.

      Also a player can be 23 and still qualify to represent any Uefa country at under 21 because they use the start of the qualifying matches (often two years before) to be eligible to appear for their country as opposed to CAF that fixes the date at the start of the AFCON competition.

      Our players do better professionally than most other countries as mentioned, because they are talented, hungry and very skillful. Of the England squad that played under 17 with Victor Moses, only Danny Rose and Danny Welbeck are still playing premiership football, but when victor says he is not playing international football again he is labeled “an old man” even though some of his peers in that squad are playing football with Dagenham and Redbridge and Kidderminster football clubs in the firth and sixth tier of the English league (count back – premiership, Championship, first division, second division, third division, northern league, southern league….), so yes, that one player shows promise at 17 and 20, does not mean that they will become a super star. of the Belgium team in that same tournament only Eden Hazard (doing well) and Christian Benteke (currently struggling)ended up playing for the Belgian national team.

      We are our own worst enemies, always shouting “ehen, where is he now”, “age cheat”, “look at his nose” he looks old. But if we look at our own families, our peers, our old classmates, our children, we can see that there is a massive difference in shapes, sizes, maturity and look between the ages of 13 and 25. One 17 or 20 year old will look younger, and small whilst the other will look massive and look older.

      I concur we cannot tell a person’s age (especially whilst they are still growing) from just looking at them.

      Another thing that affects is that many of our under 17s and under 20s as well as under 23s move to Europe once the AFCON and World cup is done and are not released for a “none fifa” tournament because it does not fall in the international breaks, rather having them play in youth games for them, so we typically use local players for CAF competitions and then inject some of the previous age group players for the world cup proper. The reason we have three or four professionals in this squad is because they are playing in Norway and the Norwegian league is yet to start (it starts again in March to November) so they were happy for the players to go. Watford and West Brom refused for their players Jayden Bennetts and Yusuff Ojebode to play in this AFCON but have indicated they will be released for the world cup if we qualify. So come June and the squad is improved for the world cup, people will say “what happened to this or that, I am sure he was over aged or failed MRI tests” (FIFA is looking at MRI tests for that tournament).

      We are our own worst enemies and are quick to jump to conclusion without investigating nor questioning. last, last Naija will be alright. We are producing players on an almost industrial scale and we are producing options for the future

      • Dr. Drey 5 years ago

        @ Big D. Well said.
        Its not that we ‘jump’ into conclusions. we only simply know ourselves very well and what we are capable of doing. If you want to think we are being cynical, just go and organize an U15 scouting camp back home. My brother….you go shock…! You will see men, i mean MEN turning up for audition. Believe me you go shock nor be small. Of course i was privileged to attend one with an ex footballer friend of mine in Ibadan many years ago. We laugh tire nor be small that day. So we know how thing things are done back at home. Infact I can tell you for free that a current super eagles player holds 3 different Nigerian passports with 3 different names and dates of birth. I can also tell you for free that a certain ex golden eaglets player already had 2 kids as at wen we was in the U17 national team. Let me also tell you for free that a certain Ex super eagles player who made his debut at 2000 AFCON at the age of ’17’ was a police officer and had played for police machines few years before then (abeg when did nigerian police force start recruiting children into the police). Let me also tell you that an ex SE player who played at the 2014 world cup at age ’23’ played for Uniport at the Nicon-Nufol universities footall league circa 2003 – 2006 ( so he was 12 or 13 years wen he was in the university). Mehn…I can go on and on. These are a few cases that i know personally, not to talk of others. Lets not forget Adokiye Amasiemaka’s alarm on the even of the 2009 U17 world cup that our team captain had played for sharks fc feeders team 10 solid years before 2009, with even pictorial evidence to back his claims up…..and you know a feeders team in nigerian league isnt actually a youth team. Its just a team consisting of players who cant make the main team.
        So Oga Big D…..Its best to leave mata for mathias. But as for me….as long as we keep using overaged players to win youth tournaments, I will neither regard the victory itself, nor the coach that earned such victory.

        • @Drey, not saying there have not been problems in the past (we have been banned from international age group football because of age cheating in the past at a time Brazil and Mexico were sanctioned as well) and there are no excuses for any incident that can be proven. However, since 2013 at the very least, I’ll stick my neck out to say we have played by the rules and we have made sure that our players are in order.

          It is not possible today for a present Super Eagles player to have three different passports and three different ages registered. He will be prevented from playing both by the coach as well as by FIFA.. A “kid” at 17 is able to father a child or two, puberty starts for some at 13 and at that age can give belle. At the 2014 world cup four players were 23 – Moses, Gabriel, Oshaniwa and Oboabona. Do you have proof that either of these played for Uniport ten years before? if so post it here.

          I also read an interview given by Emmanuel Amuneke talking about players presenting themselves with several passports and having to turn them away based on their documentation. players and agents will try, but as NFF officials they see through these ruses and have to do their jobs weeding them out. Basically, if a player does not pass the MRI test at camp, no Jupiter will allow them play at under 17 regardless of documentation. If a player does not have documentation to prove their age and is not consistent in the paperwork submitted, they will not be given a green jersey to wear. That is the benefit of experience. Its one thing to organize a scouting camp, its another entirely to screen and weed out players, that is where the job is. That is how Ndidi was not allowed to play for the under 17 2013 team and that is how he was promoted to the under 20 team and played two tournaments with them. Today he is the number one ball winning defensive midfielder in the English premier league today.

          We have not used an over aged player to win a tournament in the 2000s going forward, that I can conclusively attest to as the tournaments we have won (under 17 2013 and 2015) we have proved that they were of age. Mere suggestions and allegations without offering evidence do no-one any justice and just rehashing old clichéd soundbytes anchor us to our past.

          We have outgrown all that. But as you say Matter:Matthias, make we leff am go enjoy the weekend

  • Thanks BigD. I guess it’s all about putting the debate into a sort of perspective.

    Your analysis hits the nail on the head which is: either you field a young or dubious U-20 team, the success of that team does not guarantee the success of their careers moving forward.

    Now, fraud, deciept or cheating of any kind in any walk of life is to be condemned. Having said that, what you know is one thing, what can be formally proved is quite another.

    If it can be proven that these boys are age cheats, then they should face the repercussions.

    Until then, I will celebrate any Nigerian victories in age-grade tournaments, regardless of the “formally-unproven-cloud” that hang above such victories.

    Other folks are well within their rights to regard these victories how they see fit!

    Each to his own!

  • Bomboy 5 years ago

    What about the Ghanaians? The also look older than 20 years.

    I was embarrassed at the way the young and enterprising Senegalese ran rings around them in their second game.

    Talk about a pot calling the kettle black!

  • Greenturf 5 years ago

    Our boys indeed look older than south Africa but I cannot say they are age cheat until proven.
    Sometimes you could be wrong with your judgement for instance Igho Ogbu the Nigerian central defender spotting the no 12 strip passed the MRI test for the under 17 two years ago he in fact featured in the failed mission against Niger Republic.This same fellow is one the players touted to be over aged because of his size,imposing built height and mean looking face of a real man but he passed the MRI test just a couple of years ago.
    Senegal and S/Africa have players with baby faces you could tell they are genuinely under 20.The thing about football is age doesn’t give you any advantage if you do a good scouting work.Evident to this was the game between Senegal vs Ghana who were owned by the more youthful,sleek and skilled Senegalese lads.
    Meanwhile,the NFF should be blamed for their quick fix approach to management of football in the country.
    How do you expect Aigbogun to field academy players when he was given the nod to build a team less than two months to a qualifier?he had no choice but to field players from the professional and amateur leagues who are within the age limit because academy players needs time to be scouted and groomed.However,the coach can only judge the players based on the birth information provided it’s not his job to question the credibility of the birth documents.
    Recently Imama was assigned to prepare our boys for Tokyo Olympics and our first qualifier is due next month yet the team has not assembled for preparations so let’s say you find yourself in similar situation would you go looking for academy players to play a qualifier against Togo in a month or go for seasoned professionals who wouldn’t need much coaching to get the job done?I leave that answer to you.
    God bless Nigeria.

    • Bomboy 5 years ago

      Thank u so much Greenturf. Fans are too quick to criticize without knowing the details. The coach had a short time to pick his squad, and he went for those whose passports declare them under 20.

      Let the critics come with their MRI scan to help us out.

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