Flying Eagles’ head coach, Paul Aigbogun, on Tuesday in Abuja expressed confidence in his young home-based team doing the nation proud at the 12th African Games in Rabat, Morocco.
The coach gave the assurance while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria as his team departed the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport for Lagos, en route Rabat.
It was reported that the team has 18 home-based players, and they had been training in Abuja since early July to finalise preparations for the games.
The coach had officially released the final 18-man list on Monday, with the team to be captained by Plateau United’s Ibrahim Abubakar.
Aigbogun, while expressing his confidence in the players, said he had worked with most of the boys in the build-up to the 2019 FIFA World Cup in Poland.
“I have a lot of confidence in the team, in spite of the players being all home-based.
“My first goal is to win our first match against Burkina Faso on Friday and we will build from there,” he said.
It was reported that most of the players picked for the Games were part of the training camp in Germany before the FIFA U-20 World Cup held in May and June.
Andrew Randa, the team’s media officer, saide the team was physically and psychologically ready to do the nation proud.
He disclosed that a foreign-based player, from Stoke City in England, was earlier expected to join the team in Rabat.
“But he will not be making it due to logistic reasons,” Randa said.
The Flying Eagles will start their campaign in the football event on Friday against Burkina Faso.
The team will then take on South Africa on Aug. 20 and round off the group stage matches against hosts Morocco on Aug. 23, all in Rabat.
See the full squad:
Detan Ogundare (Kogi United)
Matthew Yakubu (Clique Sports)
3. Rabiu Mohammed (Plateau United)
4. Mike Zaruma (Plateau United)
5. Habibu Yakubu (Rarara FC)
6. Victor Arikpo (Sidos FC)
7. Sanusi Abdulmutallif (Katsina United)
8. Peter Eletu (Prince Kazeem FC)
9. Adewale Oladoye (Water FC)
10. Liameed Quadri (36 Lion)
11. Samuel Nnoshiri (Heartland)
12. Abubakar Ibrahim (Plateau United)
13. Emeka Chinonso (Brookhouse)
14. Success Makanjuola (Water FC)
15. Collins Sor (36 Lion)
16. Saeed Jibril (Plateau United)
17. Ahmad Ghali (MFM)
18. Adesina Gata (Wikki Tourists)