ABUJA – Just one week after putting four goals past a hapless Sia-One Academy, the Flying Eagles of Nigeria were at it again at the weekend, trouncing Kano –based Dabo Babes FC 5-0 in yet another test match.
Victor Osimhen was the man of the match at the FIFA Goal Project, Abuja as his first half hat –trick drew applause from an appreciable crowd that included Nigeria U-23 team Coach Samson Siasia, former Super Eagles captain Mutiu Adepoju, one –time Super Eagles Assistant Coach Bitrus Bewarang and NFF assistant director (Technical) Siji Lagunju, also a former Nigeria international.
The spectators were still exchanging pleasantries on arrival at the venue, when Wolfsburg striker Osimhen set the game alive with his first minute strike. That goal came in just 25 seconds of play. He added a second in the 25th minute after some good work from the flanks by Samuel Chukwueze. Chukwueze, bronze boot winner at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015 and who will be penning a deal with English Premier League side, Arsenal in the coming days also had his name on the scorers’ sheet, combining well with Osimhen to slot the ball beyond a bemused Dabo Babes goalkeeper for the third goal of the match.
Just when it looked like the Flying Eagles needed a breather after some exhausting early minutes display, Victor Osimhen came up with the fourth goal in the 43rd minute to complete his hat trick and make it a comfortable lead before Chukwudi Agor completed the rout in the 47th minute, running onto a through pass from Orji Okonkwo to fire home a long range shot which drew applause from the spectators. In the second half, Flying Eagles gaffer Emmanuel Amuneke brought in some of the untested legs and rested his key men as he became conscious of the task ahead. The half produced little in form of excitement, as the Nigeria U-20 played safe to avoid unwanted injuries.
The match was the second in a series of friendly games lined up by Coach Emmanuel Amuneke for his wards as they intensify preparation for next month’s Africa U-20 Cup of Nations qualifying fixture with Burundi. The process started with thirty players invited to the team’s Serob Legacy Hotel camp in Wuye. They were joined on arrival by over sixty other players at a routine screening exercise that lasted over two weeks after which the number was pruned down to 45, to allow the coaches concentrate more on individual abilities and group work.
Head Coach Amuneke plans to play more friendly games against NPFL clubsides, with the hope that he can still identify some more league players within the age bracket to further fortify his team ahead of the first leg against Burundi on May 22 in Bujumbura. The winner of the two –legged tie will qualify for the final round of the U-20 Cup of Nations qualifying series in July this year.
Eight teams will participate in the finals of the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Zambia next year, and it is from there that Africa’s four representatives to the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic would emerge.