Under-23 national team coach, Imama Amapakabo may end up relying heavily on foreign-based players for this month’s African U-23 Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya, as several of his invited players have been dropped on account of age irregularities.
Not less than six of the 33 players called to camp by Imama have been axed by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), following checks on forms they had filled for previous national and continental competitions.
The scenario has left Imama looking outwards, as he now puts his hope for the game against Libya on a list of foreign-based players that an still within the age bracket and their names will be made public next week.
Amapakabao, though, put the blame on the players, as he says his scouting programme took into account current data provided by their clubs, which he says tally with the required age grade.
He also admitted that preparations were not going his way, but added that the biggest motivation going for him is the need to qualify Nigeria for the U-23 AFCON, All Africa Games and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Amapakabo interjected: “We have being watching most of them and also we got scouting reports.
“We also looked at those players who have come through the previous age-group competitions.
“The time may be short, but the most important thing is that we have started.
“We will try as much as possible to give the country the very best of representation and hopefully we will scale through the hurdle.
“This is like B of the senior national team and it is an opportunity for us to see a whole lot of players who may make it to Super Eagles.”