Flying Eagles boss Manu Garba has expressed confidence that all his foreign-based players would heed his call and feature during the African Youth Championship (AYC) slated for March 8-22 in Senegal.
Nigeria’s representatives are polled in Group A and they have the enviable task of facing the hosts, Senegal during the opening match billed for March 8 and it is on the strength of this that Garba has extended invitation to 30 top players with the hope of raising a formidable 21-players squad that would be able to brave the odds during the competition.
Two foreign professionals: Musa Mohammed (Besiktas,Turkey) and Taiwo Awoniyi (Kalmar, Sweden) have both arrived the camp with seven players still being awaited from outside the country while those based in the country have all got to the camp.
Garba in a recent chat with Goal said that he was more than sure that the crop of players he used during the FIFA U17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates would form the bedrock of his squad to the AYC which serves as the qualifiers for the FIFA U20 World Cup to be held in New Zealand next year.
Garba said “I am absolutely confident that I will raise a team that Nigerians will be proud of. I will get a team that will not only qualify for the U20 World Cup but will be going there as African champions. We have the players and I am equally sure that the few foreign-based players I have invited will heed my call.”
The two foreign pros that have arrived camp in Kaduna have already started training and familiarizing themselves with others in camp while Goal reliably gathered that the top officials of the U20 team are in discussion with other clubs over the release of the other seven overseas stars for the AYC.
Those still being awaited are Kelechi Iheanacho and Chidiebere Nwakali both of Manchester City and others are Isaac Success, Musa Yahaya, Moses Simon, Kingsley Madu and Chidera Eze.
The Flying Eagles last won the AYC in 2011 after a dramatic 3-2 victory over Cameroon after extra time and the team will be aiming at winning the seventh title to the ones won in 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 2005 and 2011.