Flying Eagles coach, John Obuh
Head Coach of the U-20 National Team, nicknamed Flying Eagles, John Obuh has called 46 players to camp as screening begins for a new team that will have the responsibility of defending the African Youth Championship title in Algeria next year.
The players are expected to arrive at C.J. Planet International Hotel, Area 1, in the Federal Capital, Abuja on Sunday, April 15. The team has an African Youth Championship qualifying date at the end of July, against the winner of the fixture between Sudan and Tanzania.
The NFF Executive Committee, at its emergency meeting of March 28, endorsed the recommendation of the Technical Sub-Committee to retain Obuh and his crew that took the U-20 Team to seventh position at the World Cup in Colombia last year. The team also won the FIFA Fair-Play Trophy.
Obuh started with the Golden Eaglets, which he led to runners-up position at the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup that Nigeria hosted, and then took the Flying Eagles to lift the African Youth Championship in South Africa in May last year.
Three months later, his wards were unlucky to lose to France at the quarter finals stage of the FIFA U-20 World Cup finals in Colombia, having won all four previous matches in the championship.
Organizers of the Eight-Nation Invitational Tournament in Cape Town have confirmed that the event will take place between May 24 – June 3 this year, with Nigeria’s Flying Eagles as Cup holders, having won the 2010 inaugural event that also had Brazil and Ghana in attendance.
The eight participating countries, viz champions Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, Cameroon and Ghana are the leading youth football powers of the universe.
Brazil lifted its fifth FIFA U-20 World Cup title in Colombia last year, only one less than Argentina’s record, while Cameroon and Egypt were also in Colombia as Africa’s flag-bearers.
Argentina won its first world title in 1979 in Japan, defeating Cup holders Soviet Union with the exquisite skills of Diego Maradona and Ramon Diaz.
The South American nation also won in 1995, 1997 and 2001, 2005 (defeating Nigeria in the final in Utrecht, Holland) and 2007.
But Brazil also reached the final in 1991, 1995 and 2009, losing to Portugal, Argentina and Ghana respectively.
While Nigeria have reached the FIFA U-20 World Cup finals on two occasions (Saudi’89 and 2005) and won bronze in 1985, Ghana is the only African country to have lifted the trophy, in 2009 in Egypt.