Nigerian starlets looking to make a name for themselves.
FIFA U20 World Cup
29 July - 20 August 2011
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Samuel Philip Steinbock
Nigeria holds an African record eight appearances at the FIFA U-20 World Cup but has never won the title. Despite this, they are still a team to watch in Colombia.
However, Coach John Obuh had problems picking a full-strength squad for the African championship, as so many Nigerian starlets already play outside of their country, with many clubs reluctant to allow them to compete.
His star player Ahmed Musa made it for just one game because of commitments at his Dutch club, VVV-Velvo. He should be available for the entire tournament in Colombia though, which will be a huge boost for the African giants
Qualifying for Colombia 2011 started off slowly. Despite winning their first game 2-1 against Ghana, they lost their next match 1-0 to Cameroon. This meant they needed a victory against Gambia in their final match to secure qualification.
It took two second-half goals from Kayode Olanrewaju and Ramon Olamilekan to guarantee them a place in the knock-out stages but from there, they never looked back and went on to claim their sixth AYC title beating Cameroon 3-2 in the final.
The Flying Eagles have come close to winning this tournament on two occasions. First, losing 2-0 to Portugal in the 1989 final in Saudi Arabia and again 16 years later in the Netherlands to a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina. They will be hoping however, that they can go one further this year and win in Colombia.