Nigeria Under-23 Male Football team coach, Samson Siasia has released a 21-man squad to represent the country in next years Olympic in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Isaac Success of La Liga side Granada and FSV Frankfurt striker Taiwo Awoniyi lead Nigeria’s U-23 team’s final 21-man squad for the 2015 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations as the four players invited by coach Samson Siasia from the victorious U-17 world champions failed to make the cut.
We profile the 21 players who will from Sunday in Mbour, Senegal, fight for Nigeria to qualify for next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Emmanuel Daniel (Enugu Rangers)
He is the team’s first-choice goalkeeper and so too for his club Rangers after his controversial transfer from Shooting Stars. The tall shot stopper is great at stopping penalties and was on the squad to the 2013 AYC in Algeria, but a knee injury prevented him from seeing action.
Yusuf Mohammed (Kano Pillars)
He has been the cover for Daniel after he toppled Abiodun Akande of Shooting Stars for the AAG. His new-found confidence has helped him play more regularly for hometown club Pillars this season.
Emmanuel Iwu (Heartland)
Young goalkeeper who has established himself at Heartland in the past two seasons. His agility makes up for his lack of inches and he will most likely be third-choice in Senegal.
Sincere Seth (Supreme Court FC)
An all-action right fullback who should catch the eye in Senegal because he is solid in defending as well as when he goes forward.
Segun Oduduwa (Nath Boys)
Athletic central defender who has grown into becoming a pillar in the heart of the team’s back four. He is very adventurous and his confidence is admirable particularly as he is from non-league Nath Boys of Lagos, who produced Eagles ace Wilfred Ndidi.
Zaharadeen Bello (Kano Pillars)
Clever if not athletic central defender who has made his Nigeria league debut for hometown club Kano Pillars, who prefer to play him as a defensive midfielder.
Seun Olubayo (Sunshine Stars)
The stocky but skillful player is comfortable as a leftback or on the left side of midfield. He trained briefly with the Nigeria U20s last year. He has been known to weigh in with his own fair share of goals for Sunshine. This will be his first major international outing.
Former Flying Eagles central defender Class of 2013. He has featured for Dolphins before a recent loan stint in Qatar. Calm under pressure with great professional attitude.
Ebuka Iroha (Diamond Football Academy)
Younger brother of former Eagles star Ben Iroha. He has been on the wings of the U23s before he finally made the cut for this U23 AFCON.
Ndifreke Effiong (Abia Warriors)
Versatile player who could play in defence, midfield or attack. He is strong on the ball, packs a good shot and knows his way to goal. His enterprise and versatility very crucial for this team as the competition gets tougher.
Usman Mohammed (FC Taraba)
Highly-rated midfielder who could play from defence or attack. He missed the AAG because he was involved then with the Super Eagles. An exciting addition to the squad to Senegal.
Tiongoli Tobara (Bayelsa United)
The Bayelsa ace has finally got his chance to prove himself after he was overlooked for the AAG. Will be now take it in Senegal?
Bature Yaro (Nasarawa United)
Hard working midfielder who has shone with the CHAN Eagles, scoring one of the goals when Nigeria eliminated Burkina Faso to qualify for next year’s CHAN in Rwanda. Such is his class that he is being considered for regular playing time with the Super Eagles.
Oghenekaro Etebo (Warri Wolves)
The heartbeat of this team – when he plays, the team play. He creates and scores goals and has already been capped at full international level by Nigeria. His biggest undoing though remains his niggling battle with a knee complaint.
Azubuike Okechukwu (Yeni Matalatyaspor/Turkey)
Team skipper and defensive midfielder, who now plies his trade in Turkey alongside Sunday Mba. He has a big engine and he is very comfortable on the ball.
Godspower Aniefiok (Kano Pillars)
Another defensive midfielder who has made a success of his move from hometown club Akwa United to Kano Pillars this past season. He may be a little slow on the ball, but he fetches and carries the ball to attack for the team.
Stanley Dimgba (Warri Wolves)
Flying winger who has established himself at league runners-up Warri wolves after transferring from Kwara United. Over the years he has proved he is a class act and he now has a chance to show what he can do on the international scene as well.
Kufre Ebong (Warri Wolves)
Another player who has made the most of his move from hometown club Akwa United to Wolves. He is the only out-and-out striker from the domestic league as the other strikers on the squad are based abroad.
Junior Ajayi (CS Sfaxien/Tunisia)
Talented centre-forward who scored three goals at the AAG in Congo Brazzaville. His goals for the Dream Team have earned him a lucrative deal at Tunisia’s CS Sfaxien from where he hopes to storm Europe.
Taiwo Awoniyi (FSV Frankfurt/Germany)
The gangling striker widely compared to the legendary Rashidi Yekini is a Liverpool loanee at German second division side FSV Frankfurt. He featured at the FIFA U20 World Cup earlier this year after he emerged as one of the stars when Nigeria won a record fourth U17 World Cup in Abu Dhabi two years ago. He is returning to Senegal, where he scored three goals as the Flying Eagles won the 2015 AYC in March.
Isaac Success (Granada CF/Spain)
Big, bullish striker Success was the star of the 2013 U17 CAF Championship in Morocco, but a hamstring denied him the chance to shine at the U17 World Cup months later. However, his class has shone through in the Spanish La Liga, where he has now scored three goals for his modest club Granada, who have extended his contract.