Under-23 national team, Olympic Eagles coach, Imama Amapakabo has confirmed that his squad has an invasion of ‘galactico’ players for the battle against Libya in the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifiers.
After failing to build a squad round home-based players, due to several age discrepancies affecting most of them, Amapakabo has turned to Europe, and he is now glad that many who are still within age have affirmed their availability for Wednesday’s match.
Consequently, several foreign-based youngsters have already joined his squad in Tunisia, with the first batch arriving on Sunday and a second set the following day, which would be 48 hours to kick-off.
Although it means several of them will not be able to train with his team, Amapakabo is holding unto positives ahead of the side’s first competitive match, as the ex-international goalkeeper is happy that many of the players invited from clubs across Europe have already confirmed their availability.
Among the lot are Royal Excel Mouscron of Belgium attacker, Taiwo Awoniyi, Orji Okonkwo from USA’s Major League Soccer (MLS), and Samuel Chukwueze from Villarreal of Spain.
Others are Azubuike Okechukwu from Rizespor, Turkey, Kelechi Nwakali from FC Porto, Portugal, and Kingsley Michael, who is on loan from top-flight Italian side, Bologna to lower division Perugia in the Italian Serie C.
Among the ‘galactico’ invaders from Europe already training with Amapakabo’s squad in Abuja are the Portugal-based trio of Feirense’s Tosin Kehinde, Bede Opara from 4th division Vilar de Perdizes and Rio Ave B defender, Kelechi John.
Also officially invited for the trip to North Africa by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are Sadiq Umar from Perugia of Italy and Olabiran Blessing Muyiwa (aka Benito), who was born in Cote d’Ivoire, but officials from his father’s country have made the first move for the 20-year-old defender, who plays for FC Tambov of Russia.
Spezia of Italy fast-rising striker, Uche Okereke may eventually fly out after his club’s game against Benevento on Saturday, which means he will likely join Amapakabo’s squad in Tunisia two days to the match.