Nasarawa United of Lafia attacker, Sunusi Ibrahim is leading the battle cry for the under-23 national team, Olympic Eagles, as he believes they will go all out for victory in Thursday’s first leg of their African championship qualifier away to Sudan, in order to make all Nigerians proud.
Sunusi is one of 15 home-based [players selected by Olympic Eagles’ coach, Imama Amapakabo for Thursday’s match in Omdurman, along with Shooting Stars’ defensive midfielder Fatai Gbadamosi, Lobi Stars fullbacks Ebube Duru and John Lazarus as well as Abba Umar.
They will be boosted by the presence of Germany-based striker Taiwo Awoniyi, squad captain Okechukwu Azubuike from Turkey and Sunday Faleye from Austria, as they aim to get a good result before return home for the return leg, which will be played in Asaba next Tuesday, with the winner advancing to the U23 AFCON, which is billed for Egypt in November.
Amapakabo’s full squad has two goalkeepers Abubakar Adamu and Agbor Ekoi, six defenders Nda Olisa, Stephen Manyo, John Lazarus, Ebube Duru, Collins Ogbodo and Etboy Akpan, four midfielders Okechukwu Azubuike, Ndifreke Effiong, Onyeka Ogochukwu and Fatai Gbadamosi, as well as six forwards: Sunday Adetunji, Taiwo Awoniyi, Sunusi Ibrahim, Sunday Faleye, Muyiwa Olabiran and Stephen Odey.
Although Sunusi acknowledged that Sudan have a strong pedigree in African football and will want to use home advantage to upstage the Olympic Eagles, the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) joint-top scorer, who was recently upgrade to the squad from the under-17 side, Golden Eaglets, predicted that they will return home with all three points.
The youngster, who was recently in Denmark and Russia for football trials, added that the goal is not only to qualify for the Africa U-23 Cup of Nations but also go on all the way to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, which he admits would be a huge boost to the careers of all players in the squad handled by Coach Imama Amapakabo.
Sunusi added: “We want to make Nigerians proud. We want to go there and beat them, and then come here to beat them at our home again.”