Guinea Bissau have named nine Portugal-based professional players on their squad to face Nigeria’s youth national team, Flying Eagles in an African U-20 Nations Cup qualifier on Saturday.
However, Guinea Bissau will be missing captain Joao Claudio Gomes Ricciulli, who is with Sampdoria of Italy and whose goal in Bissau proved to be what eventually eliminated Sierra Leone in the previous round of the qualifiers.
The exciting forward also missed the return leg match in Sierra Leone, which ended in a goalless draw, and will not be there for Saturday’s match at September 24 Stadium in Bissau by 5pm Nigerian time with the return leg a week later.
The Portugal-based pros are goalkeepers Babagale Malam Balde and Ismael Jose Mendes Goms and defenders Bubacar Sidebe, Manuel Costa, Umaro Fereiera.
Florentino Luis Silva, Issa da Silva Seide and Mada Alberto Fereira are midfielders, while the foreign-based striker is Ndorfe Dias Vaz.
These players in the lower leagues or the second team of clubs like FC Porto and Boavista, while the other half of the squad are made up of players who play in Guinea Bissau.
Meanwhile, The Nigeria U20s lead by coach Paul Aigbogun arrived Bissau late Thursday night after they connected from Morocco.
Israel-based goalkeeper Akpan Udoh is the only overseas-based player on the 20-man Flying Eagles squad.
Young Djurtinhos of Guinea Bissau, who shocked out Sierra Leone in the previous round of the qualifying series, have named as many as nine Portugal-based pros for tomorrow’s game.
This is understandable as they were colonised by Portugal, Portuguese is the country’s official language and the West Africans still keep close ties with their former colonial masters.