Chukwueze, Osimhen, Orji, Nwakali Reunite For U23s


Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup-winning quartet of Victor Osimhen, Orji Okonkwo, Samuel Chukwueze and Kelechi Nwakali got the chance for a majestic reunion on the pitch, as all four were in the Olympic Eagles’ starting line-up against Libya.


With coach of the side, Imama Amapakabao obviously desperate for a turn-around result, following his side’s 2-0 loss in the first leg of their Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifier last Wednesday, the ex-Eaglets’ stars got the nod to start Monday’s reverse fixture in Asaba.

Osimhen was the last of the four to join the squad, as he was deployed from the Super Eagles’ camp, where he had been initially called up for games against Seychelles and Egypt, while Chukwueze had also been left out of the senior team’s squad list when it was first released.

Incidentally, Osimhen had been in the last under-23 squad handled by Samson Yebowei Siasia, which won the AFCON title in Morroco, but he was left oput of the team that went on to win bronze at Rio 2016 Olympics.

He went straight into Amapakabo’s line-up on Monday, mostly on the strength of his current top form with Charleroi of Belgium, where his strike partner for the game against Libya, Taiwo Awoniyi is also doing well with Royal Excel Mousrcon.

Starting both players meant Amapakabo had to ax fellow-Blgium-based attacker, Dennis Bonaventure from Club Brugge and Russia-based Cote d’Ivoire-born midfielder-cum-attacker, Muyiwa Olabiran.

Deployed from the Eagles’ camp to the U23 team alongside Osimhen were Chidozie Awaziem and Francis Odinaka Uzoho, who also both went straight into Amapakabao’s starting 11.

Uzoho got the nod in goal, as the former Rangers International of Enugu and El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri gaffer made seven changes to the roster that started the first leg in Bergendan, Tunisia last midweek.

In central defence, Joshua Akpudje and Stephen Egbe made way for Awaziem and his fellow-new arrival, Flying Eagles’ assistant captain, Valentine Ozornwafor.

John Lazarus was ejected for Etboy Akpan at right back, but Nwakali and captain of the side, Azubuike Okechukwu keep their places in midfield, with Ebube Duru also retained at left back.


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