Nigerian football seems to be in a good place…. or at least heading towards it.
For starters the right man is back at the helm of affairs for another 4 years
For another the awareness of the team as a brand has soared thanks in part to that exquisite jersey design from Nike, but best of all… an enormous amount of young talents of which most are conveniently under 21 are springing up everywhere.
In France Samuel Kalu and Sheyi Ojo (who recently declared his availability for the Eagles) are tearing up defences from the flanks growing in profile and confidence
The deadly Henry Onyekuru has been rated as one to watch by UEFA and is only a matter of time before he returns to Everton
One time U17 world cup top scorer Victor Osimhen has found his scoring boots again knocking in goals for Chaleroi
Another star from that same U17 Samuel Chukwueze made his champions league debut for Spanish top side Villarreal and looks set to become an integral part of the first team of one of the biggest clubs in Spain
Young Flying Eagles captain Ikouwem Udoh is earning rave reviews for his performances and is touted as the best left back in Nigeria.
Ebere Eze is turning heads in England with star performance after performance making the top clubs circle round while super talented Ademola Lookman of Everton seems set to throw his hat into the fray
And there are more,
Exciting forwards under 21 in Bolognas Orji Okonkwo, Perugias Kingsley Michael, Club Brugges Emmanuel Dennis Bonaventure and even surprisingly Taiwo Awoniyi.
Skillful Midfielders like Ex Man Uniteds Tosin Kehinde Portos Kelechi Nwakali, Rangers Ovie Ejaria and solid Defenders like Ebube Duru Chidozie Awaziem and Fikayo Tomori
Even current Eagles first choice goalkeeper Francis Uzoho falls into this category
Expectedly the clamour from soccer passionate Nigerians is for an immediate invitation to the Super Eagles but while this has already happened for some it might still be a tad premature for some others
A good scouting system will help monitor these young talents and access their forms in their various clubs which would be an obvious criteria for Super Eagles Invitation, however the Upcoming 2020 Olympics in Tokyo presents a perfect testing ground to both access these players and harness these talents into a formidable unit giving fans an idea of what our team could look like come the 2022 world cup.
Just as the 1996 Olympic team that won gold showed us a team meant to conquer the world at Franc 1998 … it’s also possible Quatar 2020 could give us a glimpse or even an assement of what could be our first World cup winning team
All the young talent listed above fall below the cut of date of birth of players born on or after 1 January 1997 and are eligible for the next Olympics
Now add to these, the best and most exciting above age from the current squad (Alex Iwobi Wilfred Ndidi & Tyronne Ebuehi) as the 3 required over aged players and you are looking at the team Nigeria is likely to present at Qatar 2022 and beyond
Both tournaments hold in Asia within a space of 2 years …. a perfect oppotunity for a test run as could ever be
Of course we have to qualify for both tournaments first . . . . but that is a write up for another day