Wednesday Jan 23, 2019. 10:24
Nigeria have named their 21-man squad for next month’s Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Niger.
The selection includes captain Ikouwem Udo Utin, who won a silver medal at the African Nations Championship in Morocco last year, as well as highly-rated forwards Yahaya Nazifi and Effiom Maxwell.
Coach Paul Aigbogun has named three foreign-based professionals in the squad: Igoh Ogbu of Rosenborg, Afeez Aremu of IK Stat FC (both Norway) and Nazifi, who recently signed contract with Danish club Sonderjyske.
Nigeria have been drawn in Group A of the competition, which runs from February 2 to 17. They will open their campaign with a clash against Burundi on February 2, followed by games against Niger and South Africa on February 5 and 8 respectively.
Group B is made up of Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the semifinals, as well as secure qualification for the U-20 World Cup in Poland, which will be held in May and June.
Nigeria have won the U-20 AFCON a record seven times: 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 2005, 2011 and 2015.
Nigeria 21-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Akpan Udoh (Unattached); Olawale Oremade (Oasis FC); Detan Ogundare (Kogi United).
Defenders: Mike Zaruma (Plateau United); Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba International); Igoh Ogbu (Rosenburg FC, Norway); Solomon Ogberahwe (El-Kanemi Warriors); Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba International); Olasunkanmi Aliyu (Emmanuel Amuneke Academy).
Midfielders: Peter Eletu (Prince Kazeem Academy); Quadri Liameed (36 Lions); Aniekeme Okon (Akwa United); Jamil Muhammad (Kano Pillars); Afeez Aremu (IK Stat, Norway).
Forwards: Adamu Alhassan (Kano Pillars); Yahaya Nazifi (Sonderjyske FC, Denmark); Ibrahim Aliyu (Oasis FC); Adeshina Gata (Wikki Tourists); Ibrahim Abubakar (Plateau United); Okoh Victor (Real Sapphire FC); Maxwell Effiom (Enyimba International).