Nigeria’s Flying Eagles head coach, Paul Aigbogun has left out Villarreal of Spain talented winger, Samuel Chukwueze of his 21-man squad for the fast approaching FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.
Coach Aigbogun yesterday named Captain Ikouwem Utin, goalkeeper Olawale Oremade, midfielder Kingsley Michael and forward Henry Offia in his list of 21 players, which also has Manchester City midfielder, Tom Dele-Bashiru and Bournemouth starlet, Nnamdi Ofoborh for the global youth soccer showpiece.
But as expected, Villarreal’s Samuel Chukwueze was omitted from the list clearing the way for him to play for the Super Eagles at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Coach Aigbogun also included Defender Valentine Ozornwafor – named in the Team of the Tournament at the U-20 AFCON finals in Niger Republic in February – and vivacious attacking midfielder Effiom Maxwell.
Aigbogun spoke to the players over dinner at their Bad Goegging, Germany training camp on Monday where he unveiled the list.
The announcement by Aigbogun comes less than 24 hours before the team tackles Austrian club, Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian city of Salzburg on Tuesday evening. The squad’s final pre-World Cup friendly will be against Red Bull Leipzig in Germany on Friday, with the delegation to fly out of Germany to Tychy on Sunday.
The Flying Eagles, seven –time champions of the African continent, have finished as runners-up at the FIFA World Cup on two occasions – 1989 and 1995 – and took the bronze medals in the former Soviet Union 34 years ago.
Nigeria’s last appearance at the FIFA U20 World Cup was in New Zealand four years ago, where Coach Manu Garba’s wards were eliminated in the Round of 16 by Germany in Christchurch.
The Flying Eagles will play Qatar, the United States of America and Ukraine in that order at the championship in Poland, with their first game against Qatar in Tychy on May 24.