By Pat MuoClearly, we are proud of these boys the Flying Eagles. Again, Nigerians can beat their chests and chorus: “we have a good team.”
The boys of Coach Manu Garba are out there in Senegal at the moment, contesting for the African Youth Championships’ trophy.
So far, they have dumped every opportunity that came their way. When we thought that hosting meant an advantage, the Nigerian boys tore the records in Senegal by beating their hosts 3 1 in the opening game of the competition.
Four days later, whatever Congo brought to the tournament was exposed by the Flying Eagles. Playing at Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium, the Nigerians summarily humiliated the Congolese 4- 1, a comprehensive win that genuinely guaranteed them a FIFA under 20 World Cup ticket in New Zealand in May.
Aliyu Ibrahim, secretary of the Flying Eagles, could not hold back tears after the Flying Eagle/Congo encounter: “Honestly, these boys are wonderful. I can’t wait to see them graduate to the Super Eagles.”
Ibrahim has sent the message. Today’s Flying Eagles send a signal of a better Super Eagles send a signal of a better Super Eagles in the very near future. Soon, the days of throwing away begging chances in front of goal will be forgotten. The weaknesses inherent in the Super Eagles’ midfield where Nigerians have always bemoaned the inadequacies of John Mikel Obi will be remedied.
The lack luster defensive plays of the Nigerian senior team’s defense will be replaced by the intelligent expose’ being exhibited right now in the African Youth Championship in Senegal by Musa Mohammed, Samuel Okon, Izuchukwu Omego, Mustapha Abdullabi and Abdulganiyi Saheed.
Of all that can be said of the present Flying Eagles squad, the attack is where the team’s beauty and strength lies.
The boys in this department are all lethal. They score at will. Opposing defenders are obstacles but it has always been a matter of time in every match before they surrender.
Enyimba International of Aba, Wolves of Warri, Pillars of Kano, and Dolphin of Port Harcourt are now beating their chests. The free goal-scoring performance of the Flying Eagles in Senegal has vindicated the four teams. At the Super Six tournament in Abuja last month, the Flying Eagles’ strike force of Taiwo Awoniyi, Chidera Eze, Christian Pyagbara, Abdullahi Ibrahim and Wasiu Jimoh made a mince meat of these teams.
Considering the fact that the four were the best of Nigeria’s premier league and Federation Cup contests last season, it is easier for one to come to terms with the strength of the nation’s under -20 team now in Senegal.
The way things are, the African Youth Championship (AYC) trophy is already in Nigeria.
FLYING EAGLES SQUAD
Goal Keepers: -Joshua Enahoro, Sunday Alampasu, Olorunleke Ojo
Defenders: -Musa Mohammed, Zaharadeen Bello, Izuchukwu Omego, Mustapha Abdullahi, Samuel Okon, Abdulganiyu Saheed.
Midfielders: -Ifeanyi Matthew, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi, Akinjide Idowu, Obinna Nwobodo, Bernard Bulbawa, Abdullahi Alfa
Strikers: – Taiwo Awoniyi, Christian Pyagbara, Abdullahi Ibrahim, Alhassan Muazam, Usman Hassan Chidera Eze, Wasiu Jimoh.