Super Eagles Chief Coach, Stephen Keshi has picked Golden Eagles goalkeeper, Dele Alampasu and first choice goalkeeper/skipper of the team, Chigozie in the list of 23 players that will represent Nigeria at the 3rd African Nations Championship, CHAN beginning in South Africa on 11 January.
Alampasu, who was discovered by the football team of Christ Miracle Church Mission, CMCM, made history by joining the big boys so early. The teenage Alampasu emerged the best goalkeeper at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which Nigeria won for a record fourth time at the United Arab Emirates, UAE in November last year.
The other top players who made the cut are; defender Azubuike Egwuekwe, midfielder Joshua
Obaje and forward Gbolahan Salami.
Regular players such as Solomon Kwambe, Francis Benjamin, Kunle Odunlami, Umar Zango, Barnabas Imenger, Daniel Akpeyi and Ifeanyi Ede also made the list, while former junior internationals; Abdullahi Shehu and Christian Pyagbara made the squad.
Nigeria take on hosts South Africa, Mali and Mozambique in Group A of the CHAN tournament reserved for senior players plying their trades in the domestic leagues of their countries. The competition runs from 11 January through 1 February, 2014 in three South African cities.
In his quest to win the tournament just as he did at the full-strength African Cup of Nations staged in the same South Africa early 2013, Coach Keshi picked three goalkeepers, eight defenders, six midfielders and six strikers.
Interestingly, Agbim, Kwambe, Benjamin and Egwuekwe are integral part of Nigeria’s Team A, while Pyagbara and Shehu played for the Flying Eagles at the African Youth Championship in Algeria and the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey in 2013.
Full list of the Eagles for CHAN:
GOALKEEPERS: Chigozie Agbim (Enugu Rangers); Daniel Akpeyi (Heartland FC) and Dele Alampasu (Abuja Football College).
DEFENDERS: Solomon Kwambe (Sunshine Stars); Francis Benjamin (Heartland FC); Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves); Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars); Ikechukwu Gabriel (Bayelsa United); Umar Zango (Kano Pillars); Bright Esieme (Enyimba FC) and Erhun Obanor (Insurance FC).
MIDFIELDERS: Ugonna Uzochukwu (Enugu Rangers); Rabiu Ali (Kano Pillars); Christian Pyagbara (Sharks FC); Ikenna Hilary (Sunshine Stars); Abdullahi Shehu (Kano Pillars) and Joshua Obaje (Warri Wolves).
FORWARDS: Ejike Uzoenyi (Enugu Rangers); Gbolahan Salami (Shooting Stars); Barnabas Imenger (Lobi Stars); Aliyu Ibrahim (Nasarawa United); Christian Obiozor (Enugu Rangers) and Ifeanyi Ede (Enyimba FC).