Awoniyi, Success lead 21-man Nigerian team to African U-23 Championship
FORMER U-20 strikers, Taiwo Awoniyi and Isaac Success, are at the head of a 21-man team selected by Coach Samson Siasia to represent Nigeria at the African Under-23 Championship, which starts on Saturday in Dakar, Senegal.
The championship also serves as qualifying tournament for next year’s Rio Olympics.
In Coach Siasia’s team are four overseas-based professionals with the rest of the squad drawn from the Nigeria league.
The pros are Awoniyi from German second division side, FSV Frankfurt, Junior Ajayi of Tunisian club CS Sfaxien, success from La Liga side Granada and midfielder Azubuike Okechukwu, who is based in Turkey.
There are no players from seven-time champions, Enyimba, after the coach dropped Kingsley Sokari and Etor Daniel for insisting on leaving training camp to play a final league game with their club in Lagos.
There is also no room for any member of the victorious Golden Eaglets from the U17 FIFA World Cup in Chile with goal king Victor Osimhen the only of the Eaglets who was in training camp in The Gambia after four of them including skipper Kelechi Nwakali were called up.
As many as 12 players on this squad were not at the recent All Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville, where Nigeria’s Dream Team VI placed third at the expense of the host team.
Nigeria will begin their campaign on Sunday against Mali in Mbour.
They will also battle Egypt on December 2 in Mbour and three days later play their final group B match against Algeria in Dakar.
The top three teams will qualify automatically for next year’s Olympics in Rio.