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The players representing the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria

Posted: 18 October 2013 Time: 14:40

The players representing the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria at the 2013 Fifa Under-17 Youth Championship in the UAE.

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GOALKEEPERS:

1-SUNDAY DELE ALAMPASU
CLUB: Football College Academy
BORN: 24.12.96
JERSEY NO: 1
SHIRT NAME: ALAMPASU
A late entrant into the team, Alampasu’s commanding presence between the sticks cemented his position as the team’s first choice goalkeeper ahead of the World Cup. An Indigene of Ondo State in South West Nigeria, Alampasu helped College of Football, Abuja to win the 2013 Karanka Reveria 61st Invitational Tournament in Croatia. He’s first born in a family with three other children. His favourite club is Chelsea while goalkeeper Peter Cech remains his idol.

2-ABDULAZEEZ ABUBAKAR
CLUB: Nathaniel Boys Academy
BORN: 20.07.1999
JERSEY NO: 16
SHIRT NAME: ABDULAZEEZ
Pint-sized goalkeeper noted for his agility and smartness. Picked from the National Under-15 team, he’s an introvert who allows his dexterity in goal speaks for him. Spain’s 2010 World Cup winning goalkeeper and captain, Iker Casillas is Abdulazeez’s favourite.

3-UZOHO FRANCIS ODINAKA
CLUB: Aspire Academy
BORN: 28.10.1998
JERSEY NO: 21
SHIRT NAME: UZOHO
Towering goalkeeper sourced from Aspire Academy in Qatar. He started his soccer career at Campus Academy. He won medals at handball tournaments while at Boys Model Secondary School in Owerri. Two-time winner of the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Mediterranean International Cup in Spain with Aspire’s Team 1998 and 1997 respectively. He’s the son of a retired school mistress.

DEFENDERS:

4-MUSA MUHAMMED SHEHU
CLUB: FC Heart Academy.
BORN: 31.10.1996
JERSEY NO: 2
SHIRT NAME: MUHAMMED
A workhorse and inspirational captain picked by Coach Manu Garba ‘because he combines the names of two inspired prophets- Musa (Moses in Christian) and Muhammed.
Indeed, Musa is a captain fantastic who leads by example; he featured in all matches involving the Golden Eaglets till date. Cool, calm and confident player that can play in different defensive positions. He’s a great admirer of Carles Puyol, the Barcelona captain known for his offensive adventure, which probably explains why he has his own fair share of goals with the Golden Eaglets.

5-ZAHARADDEN BELLO
CLUB: Dabo Babes Academy
BORN: 21.12.1997
JERSEY NO: 19
SHIRT NAME: BELLO
Drafted into the team after an excellent performance at the 2012 Airtel Rising Stars Championship in Lagos where he was voted the best defender. Nicknamed Baggio by his mum after the retired Italian defensive midfielder Dino Baggio, Zaharadeen is a great admirer of Thiago Silva- the Brazilian who plays as a centre back for Paris Saint-Germain and the Selecao. Has grown in stature in the team and all eyes would be on him as one of the defensive lines at the World Cup in the UAE.

6-ALIYU ABUBAKAR AUDU
CLUB: Mutunchi Football Academy
BORN: 15.06.1996
JERSEY NO: 6
SHIRT NAME: ABUBAKAR
Defensive midfielder who cut his teeth at Mutunchi Football Academy in Kaduna. Audu, who hails from Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State, is called Handsome Ali back home but on the pitch he’s referred to Access Ali for his ability to provide passes to open up the rear of opposing defences. He is the last born in his family and has four siblings.

7-CHIGOZIE OBASI
CLUB: Fosla Academy
BORN: 15.06.1998
JERSEY NO: 12
SHIRT NAME: OBASI
Obasi hails from Enugu State but has lived almost all his life in Ogun State where he recently came fourth in the Shell Cup for secondary schools. A graduate of the national Under-13 and Under-15 teams, Obasi is attached to Abuja-based FOSLA Academy. Last born in a family with seven other children, Obasi is known for his bravery on the pitch but off it, he’s a stand-up comedian!

8-JAPHAET OLUWASEUN RAYMOND 
CLUB: Nigeria Football Federation Under-15
BORN: Born: 28.05.1997
JERSEY NO: 15
SHIRT NAME: JAPHAET
Japho is a defender full of brain coupled with leadership quality. Apart from being the head boy while at Kwara Football Academy, he was the captain of the soccer school when they won the Shell Cup in 2012. He made his breakthrough last year at the national team level when he was drafted into the Under-15 team. An indigene of Ondo State in South West Nigeria, he’s the last born of his mum.

9-DENNIS OKON-NYA
CLUB: Canaan FC Academy
BORN: 1.12.1996
JERSEY NO: 5
SHIRT NAME: NYA
A star in the Cross River State soccer team that won the silver medal at the 2012 National Sports Festival in Nigeria. He plays for Canaan FC Academy in Calabar; Okon-Nya is the fourth child and has five siblings. His favourite meal is rice and stew ‘because it gives me power!’

10-MUSA YAHAYA
CLUB: Mutunchi Football Academy
BORN: 16.12.1997
JERSEY NO: 11
SHIRT NAME: YAHAYA
Yahaya was among the goals for the Golden Eaglets at the CAN Under-17 Championship in Morocco where he scored three goals including a brace against Tunisia in the semi-finals. He’s is an introvert who wears his smile like toothpaste. Started his career at Mutunchi Football Academy in Kaduna, Yahaya adores Real Madrid’s Brazilian and 2007 World Player of the Year, Kaka. He’s nicknamed Iniesta!

11-SAMUEL GODWIN OKON
CLUB: Greater Tomorrow Academy
BORN: Born: 15.12.1996
JERSEY NO: 3
SHIRT NAME: OKON
Left-footed defender built in the mould of his favourite French and Manchester United star, Patrice Evra. Nicknamed Zamora, Okon is an indigene of Akwa Ibom State where he plays for Greater Tomorrow Youth Academy.

12-CHIDIEBERE NWAKALI
CLUB: Shuttle Sports Academy
BORN: 26.12.1996
JERSEY NO: 14
SHIRT NAME: NWAKALI
It’s hard to say anything about this energetic lad without mentioning his cheeky penalty kick that cost the Golden Eaglets dear at the 2013 CAN Under-17 Championship when they ended with the Silver medal following a 5-4 penalty loss to Cote d’Ivoire after 1-1 in regulation time. But on the bright side, Nwakali brings so much to the party and has been an integral part of the team ever since. He caught the eyes at the 2012 Airtel Football Competition where he finished as runner–up with Imo State.

MIDFIELDERS:

13-AKINJIDE IDOWU
CLUB: Nathaniel Boys Academy
BORN: 09.09.1996
JERSEY NO: 4
SHIRT NAME: IDOWU
A Trojan in the midfield and a fulcrum in the silver medal-winning team at the CAN Under-17 Championship in Morocco. He featured in all the Golden Eaglets’ six qualifying matches to book the ticket for the 2013 CAN Under-17 tournament in Morocco as well as playing in all the five matches at the Championship proper. He was a runner-up with National Foundation Academy of Delta State during the 2012 Shell Cup tournament. He polished his skill at the Calabar Soccer Academy. His favourite meal is fried rice with chicken.

14-SALIHU ALI-BABA
CLUB: Rangers Academy Bida
BORN: 10.08.1997
JERSEY NO: 14
SHIRT NAME: SALIHU
Former captain of the National Under-15 team who represented Nigeria at the 2010 Copa Coca-Cola tournament in South Africa. He’s the sixth-born of a family with nine (four boys and five girls) children. He hails from Bida in Niger State. His Nigerian favourite is Osaze Odemwingie because ‘he’s very mobile.’ Known for tranquillity and leadership quality, UAE 2013 offers him the chance to prove he’s a real deal.

15- GODWIN SAVIOUR
CLUB: El-Kadme Academy
BORN: 22.08.1996
JERSEY NO: 13
SHIRT NAME: GODWIN
Saviour is a native of Obudu in Cross River State but he would be the first to tell you that he acquires his cosmopolitan outlook having being bred in Jos- a city with a rich soccer history having produced the likes of John Mikel Obi; Obinna Nsofor, Musa Ahmed amongst others. But Saviour’s dream is to make a name for himself right from his first days at FC Sport of Jos; he’s a winger who on a good day could be as mesmerising as his favourite Super Eagles’ star, Victor Moses.

16-ALFA ABDULLAHI
CLUB: Football College Academy
BORN: 29.07.1996
JERSEY NO: 8
SHIRT NAME: ALFA
Natural playmaker nicknamed Goma which means figure ten in Hausa language. Blooded at the Stallions Academy in Kaduna, Abdullahi is an indigene of Niger State. He polished his skill at the model College of Football in Abuja (COFA) where he is currently the team’s captain.
He came second with Nigeria at the 2011 Copa Coca Cola Tournament in London but helped COFA to become the first African team to win the Karanka Reveria Invitational Tournament in Croatia this year. Though an admirer of the trio of Zinedine Zidane, Andreas Iniesta and Xavi, Abdullahi’s favourite player is Chelsea’s Nigerian midfield enforcer, John Mikel Obi.

17-HABIB MAKANJUOLA
CLUB: Chelsea FC
BORN: 19.04.199
JERSEY NO: 7
SHIRT NAME: MAKANJUOLA
The only addition from Europe; Makanjuola ‘s wizardry is well noted after he dazzled at the 2010 Red Bull Street Soccer Championship to emerge the best youngest player at the tournament. He’s a 2011/2012 winner of the Under-15 league in England. He is expectedly a fan of Chelsea FC with Frank Lampard and Barcelona’s Xavi as his favourite players. Commands the respect of teammates ‘because he’s a humble guy.’

STRIKERS:

18-CHIDERA EZEH:
CLUB: River Lane Academy
BORN: 02.10.1997
JERSEY NO: 17
SHIRT NAME: EZEH
Natural goal scorer nicknamed baby-faced assassin. One of the success stories from the NFF’s catch-them-young policy. He was the star striker at both the National Under-13 and Under-15 levels.
Ezeh has eyes for goals and has led River Lane Academy of Enugu to several conquests. Ezeh’s favourite player is no other person than Chelsea’s Spanish striker, Fernando Torres and he’s the first to score a hat trick for the Golden Eaglets in the 3-0 spanking of Junior Wasps of Rwanda in an International Friendly last September ahead of the 2013 CAN Under-17 Championship in Morocco.

19-SUCCESS ISAAC
CLUB: BJ Foundation Academy
BORN: 07.01.1996
JERSEY NO: 9
SHIRT NAME: SUCCESS
Nicknamed Nasarah by Coach Manu Garba-which means success in an Arabic and Hausa languages. Indeed, Nasarah needs little introduction having emerged top scorer with seven goals during the CAN Under-17 Championship in Morocco last April. The striker was snapped from famous Megap Soccer Academy (now known as B-J Foundation) in Benin which incidentally produced Super Eagles’ Elderson Echiejile. A great admirer of four-time African Footballer of the Year, Samuel Eto’o, he is also the team’s overall top scorer having scored 32 goals in 42 matches on the road to the 2013 UAE FIFA Under-17 World Cup.

20-KELECHI IHEANACHO
CLUB: Taye Academy
BORN: 03.10.1996
JERSEY NO: 10
SHIRT NAME: IHEANACHO
He was the second highest goal scorer with five goals behind Success Isaac at the CAN Under-17 Championship in Morocco last April. Iheanacho is regarded as a player with huge potentialities starting from his days the National Under-13 from where he progressed to the Under-15 team national team. Started his career with Taye Academy in Owerri, he has 29 goals under his belt for the Golden Eaglets

21-TAIWO AWONIYI
CLUB: Imperial Soccer Academy
BORN: 12.08.1997
JERSEY NO: 18
SHIRT NAME: AWONIYI
Hardworking striker who was drafted from the National Under-15 team that missed the Adidas Tournament in Mexico last year. Taiwo has blossomed in the Golden Eaglets, scoring a brace on his debut against Botswana in an international friendly match. Enlisted at the Imperial Soccer Academy, Odogbolu in Ogun state where he started his budding career. Awoniyi can equally function effectively in other positions except goalkeeping!


COACHING CREW:

MANU GARBA (MFR)
The Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach is vastly experienced and could be likened to a silent achiever. He assisted late Coach Yemi Tella when Nigeria won the FIFA Under-17 World Cup for the third time in 2007. A Bachelor of Arts Degree holder from the University of Maiduguri where he studied History, Garba has attended several professional courses home and abroad including the first ever FIFA Win-in-With-Africa (WIWA) coaching course for national team coaches as well as 20 Premier League coaches in Nigeria last year. He was a former Nigerian youth international and he captained El Kanemi Warriors to win the Nigeria FA Cup twice in 1991 and 1992 before he retired to coaching.
His transition from playing to coaching has been seamless since ‘he has eyes for talents.’ Apart from been part of the crew that delivered the Golden Eaglets’ third title in 2007, Manu was a Gold winner at the 2001 Umbro International Football Tournament in Manchester. He led a school boys team to win the 2006 Shell Cup for All Nigeria Secondary School and was also a Gold winner at the 2008 Pepsi International Football Championship held in Nigeria.

EMMANUEL AMUNEKE (MON)
Former Super Eagles star and 1994 African Footballer of the Year serves as the team’s Assistant Coach 1. Regarded as one of the best players of his era, the former FC Barcelona star scored the brace that helped Nigeria beat Zambia 2-1 to win the African Cup of Nations in 1994. He was also the scorer of the winning goal when Nigeria beat Argentina 3-2 to win Africa’s first soccer gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He recently acquired the UEFA Pro Licence after attending the mandatory course in Spain.

NDUKA UGBADE
Ugbade can be likened to a renaissance man for Nigeria since he captained the Golden Eaglets to win the inaugural edition of the FIFA Under-16 World Cup at China in 1985. He was also in the historic Flying Eagles that won the Silver medal at the 1989 FIFA Under-20 Championship in Saudi Arabia. In fact, he was the scorer of the equalizer in that famous ‘Miracle of Damman’ match when Nigeria came from 4-0 to haul the defunct Soviet Union on penalty shootout after 4-4 in regulation time. He was in the 1994 African Cup of Nations winning team. He’s second Assistant Coach of the Golden Eaglets and a holder of Brazilian, UEFA and USA Professional Coaching certificates.

EMEKA AMADI
Amadi is the Golden Eaglets goalkeepers’ trainer. He was the hero for Nigeria when the Flying Eagles stopped the defunct Soviet Union (USSR) on penalty shoot in the semi-finals of the 1989 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Saudi Arabia where Nigeria eventually won the Silver medal. A graduate of Physical Education from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Amadi apart from being a Montessori teacher at one point, was a goalkeeper in the German Oberliga with Hannover 96 as well as featuring for Tus Celle, S.V Nienlagen and FC Oberneuland in the regional Liga.

OTHER OFFICIALS:
Dr. Deji Olarinoye-Team’s doctor
Gabriel Oyegunna-Team Physiotherapist
Tayo Egbaiyelo-Team’s administrator
Mohammed Kafa-Equipment Manager
Morakinyo Abodunrin-Media Officer
Suleiman Abubakar-Team Coordinator

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