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U-23 AFCON Qualifier: Chukwueze, Awoniyi, Okereke To Lead U-23 Eagles Attack Vs Libya

U-23 AFCON Qualifier: Chukwueze,  Awoniyi, Okereke To Lead U-23 Eagles Attack Vs Libya

The trio of Samuel Chukwueze, Taiwo Awoniyi and David Okereke will lead the U-23 Eagles onslaught for goals in Wednesday’s U-23 AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations) qualifying fixture against Libya, reports Completesports.com.

The three players are among the overseas-based professionals selected for the two-legged game by head coach of the team Imama Amapakabo.

Chukwueze who has enjoyed a fine season with Villarreal in the LaLiga was exempted from the Super Eagles squad for the upcoming games against Seychelles and the Pharaohs of Egypt so that he could feature against the Libyans in U-23 AFCON qualifier.

The 19-year-old has scored six goals and recorded two assists in 26 appearances in all competitions for the Yellow Submarines so far this season.

Awoniyi has rediscovered his goal scoring ability since linking up with Belgian club, Royal Excel Mouscron on loan in January after struggling to make impact on loan at Gent in the first part of the campaign where he failed to hit the back of the net in 16 games.

He has scored seven goals in his first eight games for Royal Excel Mouscron.

The former Golden Eaglets star picked up a knee injury in Mouscron’s 1-1 home draw against Sint Truiden last weekend but is still hopeful of facing the Libyans.

Little known Okereke who plays for Italian Serie B side Spezia has banged in eight goals in 24 appearances for the club this season.

Caykur Rizespor of Turkey midfielder Azubuike Okechukwu, Kelechi Nwakali, Chidera Eze and Orji Okonkwo are some of the other overseas-based players invited for the match.

The U-23 AFCON qualifying match will hold at the Bengerdan Stadium in Bengerdan, Tunisia.

Libya is still unable to play international matches at home dueLibyans after-effects of the Arab-Spring political turmoil that began in 2011.

The reverse fixture will come up at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba on Tuesday March 26.

The U-23 Eagles are the defending champions of the U-23 AFCON.

Africa’s flag-bearers in the Men’s Football event of Tokyo 2020 Olympics will emerge during the third Africa U-23 Africa Cup of Nations to hold in Egypt in November this year.

By Adeboye Amosu

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  • Bomboy 5 years ago

    Heavy weight team for an U23 game.

    But will these foreign based pros be released by their clubs for the tournament in Egypt later in the year if it does not fall on a FIFA international games window? I hear the Olympics and the age grade AFCONS are not part of the games clubs are obliged to release players for.

  • Ayphillydegreat 5 years ago

    The DreamTeam is buzzing with quite a handful of talents. It’s a very good thing for them to be playing together from now on because these team his the next SuperEagles when you include other U23 players already with the SuperEagles at the moment. 

    It’s unfortunate that clubs are not obligated to release their players for any tournament that falls outside of the FIFA window, but if there’s mutual agreement between the clubs and the federation which I hope the NFF can take proper action, but it will be difficult. 

    However, if Nigeria can scrape through the qualifiers and qualify for the Olympics we have a plethora of talents at the U23 level to win another Olympic gold in football. I like the fact that they’re all available for this double header against Libya that can really test them. I want to see how how they can play together as a team. Another good thing is that most of them have been playing together since their U13 days. #FLY LIKE AN EAGLE INTO THE FUTURE#

  • Yes, it’ll be a tug of war between the NFF and the clubs to release the players for the next round of the AFCON under 23 qualifiers and the Olympics if we qualify, but first we have to get past Libya and maybe the next opponent.

    Its fantastic that the NFF have taken this opportunity to blood some of our pros and cap tie them (Bonaventure for one) to Nigeria.

    It’s a fine balancing act with some players likely to feature in more than one competition (or age group)the under 20 world cup (Oremade, Udoh and Ozornwafor), the Under 23 (Awoniyi, Chukwueze, Bonaventure, Azubuike) as well as the Super Eagles (Osimhen, Onyekuru, Awaziem). But balance the have to.

    As long as we don’t over flog the players, it bodes well for the next six months to a year in the run up to AFCON and the Olympics. It means we will have a core of 35 experienced players eligible for AFCON, a core of 35 experienced players eligible for the Olympics 2020 and a blend of these two squads to prosecute the AFCON 2021 as well as the world cup 2022.

    The only issue at this time is that the foregn pros have not trained with the local lads yet and are unlikely to feature in more than a cameo role in Tunisia, but intensive training between the Tunisia leg and the Nigeria leg could see several big changes in the first team, maybe 3 in the starting line up and 3 more subs. somehow I don’t see how Chukwueze, Azubuike, Awoniyi, Okereke, Okonkwo, Ezeh and Bonaventure will be brought from across the globe to just sit on the bench. The two games will be completely different in performance

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