1999 FIFA U20 World Cup was the one Nigeria should have won, hosting the rest of the world, playing with an assemblage of very talented footballers, however a quarter-final defeat to Mali quickly ended all hopes.
Nigeria’s U20 campaign was described as a disaster and shameful by midfielder Edward Dombraye, who himself was converted to a striker during the competition.
Recounting his experience from 21 years ago, Dombraye said the Head Coach Tunde Disu called him before one of the games and told him he’s been picked to play as a striker.
At the time a 19 year-old, he admits he didn’t like the idea, even though the Coach had said the Youngster reminded him of former Nigerian star Christopher Ohenhen.
Nigeria was knocked out by Mali, who cruised to a comfortable 3-1 win and Dombraye told brila.net that, “I don’t like to remember those times.”
“Nigeria 1999 to me was a real big disaster and a Shame.”
The Tournament produced several players who went on to have stellar careers in the Super Eagles. Dombraye was capped once for Nigeria at senior level as a striker and he admits his playing in Poland at the time and the position cost him.