Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets’ are the most successful side in the history of the cadet World Cup with five titles and three runners up since making her debut in inaugural tournament hosted by China in 1985.
South America’s giant, Brazil occupies second spot with three titles and two runners-up while Ghana and Mexico with two success story at the age-grade competition to place joint third.
Legit.ng in this report unearths how the victorious members of the Golden Eaglets’ squad at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in United Arab Emirates (UAE) have fared since winning Nigeria’s fourth silverware in the cadet World Cup that will be exactly five years on November 8, 2018. The report also reveals which players have made into the Super Eagles and could feature at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Meet the players from past till present
1. Dele Sunday Alampasu (CD Feirense, Portugal)
The Golden Eaglets number one shot stopper and best goalkeeper of the championship was in goal in all matches played at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The 21-year-old Alampasu who was a favourite with the fans is currently on the books of Portugese side, CD Feirense since August 1, 2015 until June 30, 2018.
2. Musa Muhammed Shehu (On loan at Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Bulgaria)
Eaglets’ right-back specialists at the FIFA U-17 championship in UAE, Musa’s current value is put at over £360k from a previous market value of £585k as at Jan 10, 2017, currently plies his trade with Bulgarian First League club, Lokomotiv Plovdiv since September 7, 2017 away from parent club, İstanbul Başakşehir.
The Kano-born defence ace that can equally play as a Right Midfielder or Left-Back has experienced a misfortune of form since claiming his first silverware with the Eaglets’ five years ago in United Arab Emirates.
However, the 21-year old Musa who has failed to reenact the form he posted for the Manu Garba side in 2013 lately has been shipped out two loan spells to Željezničar in 2017 and currently to Bulgaria’s Lokomotiv Plovdiv in a deal that expires June 30, 2018.
Musa, despite blowing hot and cold on the international scene since the UAE exploits, has only debuted for Nigeria in 2016, against Mali in an international friendly.
The hard tackling defender however made Samson Siasia’s Dream Team IV 35-man provisional squad for the 2016 Summer Olympic in Brazil.
Musa is expected to continue fighting for a place in İstanbul Başakşehir’s 2018/19 squad when his Bulgarian deal expires in June.
3. Samuel Okon (Akwa United, Uyo)
Ex-Golden Eaglets and Flying Eagles defender, Samuel Okon who was scouted from Nigeria Greater Tomorrow Academy going into the U-17 tournament in UAE is currently on the books of Uyo-based, Akwa United in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) since 2016.
Okon was in the thick of the action as the Manu Garba-tutored Golden Eaglets’ squad dazzled the world at the 2013 Fifa U17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), joined the Promise Keepers’ from his childhood side, Greater Tomorrow FC, Uyo, after his dream of playing abroad failed to materialize.
4. Akinjide Idowu (Without a club)
Born in Kano on September 9, 1996, Akinjide Elijah Idowu is a defensive midfielder who emerged from Nath Boys Academy going into the FIFA U-17 Championship in 2013.
After the celebrations heralding the victory at UAE, Idowu disappeared from the scene only to appear three years later at Speranța Nisporeni in 2016. Less than six months, Idowu headed to the United States of America where he played briefly form Portland Timbers 2.
At the international level, Idowu was a member of the Flying Eagles squad between 2013 and 2016
Two years down the road, the 21-year-old Idowu is yet to return to the game that brought to the limelight five years ago.
5. Denis Nya (Akwa United, Uyo)
A product of Canaan Football Academy, Denis Nya currently plays for Akwa United in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) fondly known as the Promise Keepers’ by fans and admirers’.
Nya, who was in action for the Golden Eaglets at UAE 2013, also played for Lobi Stars in 2017 season.
6. Aliyu Abubakar (PS Kemi Kings, Finland)
Former Eaglets defender, Aliyu Abubakar, turns 21 during this summer World Cup.
Painfully, the Lagos-born defender will not be playing any role for the Eagles at the Mundial, a similar feat he achieved with the Manu Garba side, five years ago at the cadet World Cup in UAE.
Currently valued £158k, the Centre-Back who nurtured his skills at Mutunchi Academy disappeared from the national teams after Nigeria’s exploits at U-17 level in 2013 only to reappear in the Veikkausliiga as Finland’s first tier league is known after signing for PS Kemi Kings since April 12, 2018 in a deal that will expire on December 31, 2018.
However, his present contract at PS Kemi Kings has a clause of an additional 1 year extension.
Indeed, since the Eaglets’ won the FIFA U-17 in UAE, Abubakar has always been a journeyman, signing a three-year contract with Israeli side, Ashdod.
Sadly, the right-footed defender left the club following their relegation at the end of the 2014–15 campaign and was linked with a deal with an unnamed Serie A side which never saw the light of the day.
Again in March 2016, Abubakar was in the news following a one-year contract with Veikkausliiga side, KuPS, after a successful trial.
Suddenly, a year later, in February 2017, Abubakar moved to Dila Gori before arriving on his current base last April.
7. Habib Makanjuola (Leicester City U-23, England)
Habib Makanjuola (Habib Abdufatai Makanjuola) at the age of 14 was a member the Golden Eaglets’ squad that won the FIFA U-17 Championship in 2013.
At 19, Makanjuola has not really showed much steel and form after series of trials with Chelsea U-16s and Birmingham’s U-17s.
However, Makanjuola has shown enough to attract Leicester City where former Eaglets’ teammate, Kelechi Iheanaco currently plies his trade too. The midfielder whose contract with the EPL side runs from August 24, 2017 to June 30, 2021, is still learning the ropes with the Foxes’ U-23 side.
8. Abdullahi Alfa (FK Ventspils, Latvia)
Discovered from the Nigeria Football College Academy, Abdullahi Alfa is currently on the payroll of FK Ventspils in the Latvian Virsliga.
The midfield jewel who can easily switch role either as a Defensive Midfielder or an Attacking Midfielder joined the club, based at Ventspils Olimpiskais Stadions in Ventspils city on February 23, 2016.
So far, Alfa has added the Latvian Cup to the U-17 silverware he claimed with the Eaglets’ at UAE 2013.
9. Isaac Success (On loan at Malaga CF)
Vice-captain of the side, Isaac Success Ajayi is one of the success stories from the UAE 2013 squad members despite playing two games as he was sidelined by injury for the rest of the tournament.
The 22-year-old Success who plays for Spanish La Liga campaigners, Málaga on loan from English club, Watford was born in Benin City, Edo state and started his career with local side, BJ Foundation Academy.
A top member of Manu Garba’s side at UAE 2013, it was no surprise that few months after ‘shinning’ with Nigeria at the cadet World Cup, Success sealed a five-year deal worth €400,000 fee with Serie A side, Udinese in November 2013, before arriving in January 2014.
In the last five years, Success has gone on to feature for the likes of Granada CF in Segunda B División. And on August 31, 2014, Success at the age of 18 years and seven months, he entered the record books of the Spanish topflight when he became the Andalusians' youngest player ever to appear in a La Liga match.
However, on July 1, 2016, Success agreed a five-year a record transfer fee, estimated around £12.5 million from Granada to join Watford in the English Premier League
In his first season with Watford, Success scored once in 19 appearances in the 2016-17 campaign. However, he was invited to the Super Eagles on two occasions, first for a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Zambia’s Chipolopolo in October 2016 and later for his debut game for Nigeria, after coming on as a substitute in a 1–1 draw against Senegal’s Terenga Lions on March 23, 2017 at The Hive Stadium in London.
Sadly, following a poor run of form at club, where he made a solitary appearance in 2017-18, he was offloaded on loan to Malaga on transfer deadline day in January 2018.
Hopefully, Success will be back stronger with Watford for 2018/19 season as his loan deal with the relegated La Liga side expires this June.
10. Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England)
Imo state born Kelechi Promise Iheanacho is one of the stars of the UAE 2013 victorious squad that Coach Manu Garba gave to the world after emerging the best player at the championship.
Iheanacho currently plays for Premier League side, Leicester City and hopefully will be in action for Nigeria’s Super Eagles at the forthcoming FIFA World Cup Russia 2018.
Among his U-17 mates at UAE 2013 that won the FIFA U-17 World Cup, Iheanacho has made more progress in achieving the dreams of the then FIFA’s secretary general, Sepp Blatter, one of the founding fathers’ of the FIFA U-17 championship.
At the last count, Iheanaco has progressed from the 2013 Eaglets’ squad to the Flying Eagles at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand. At the last count, he has featured 14 times scoring eight goals between 2015 till date as Nigeria qualified to this summers’ Mudial in Russia.
On club level, the 21-year-old forward was at Taye Academy between 2011 to 2014 showed progresses after sealing a move to Manchester City during 2014–2015 season.
During his stay at City (2015–2017), Iheanaco enjoyed 46 appearances, scoring 12 times.
Football fans are divided as many argue that Iheanaco has not really shown the steel he is made of following his unceremonious exit from Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium before the start of the 2017/18 campaign.
However, come June, Iheanaco will be hoping to see his name enter the record books as one of the few football players that has tasted action across all FIFA-three competitions; U-17, U-20 and the World Cup.
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11. Musa Yahaya (Porto B, Portugal)
Full name Musa Auwal Yahaya was born in Kaduna on December 16, 1997 is another UAE 2013 squad member from the Mutunchi Academy.
He showed promises at the cadet World Cup scoring four times in nine appearances, but has struggled to make it to the big stage.
No sooner had the euphoria that herald Nigeria’s victory at UAE die down; the attacking midfielder was on the move to Tottenham Hotspur after showing promises at the cadet World Cup.
Painfully, he has since struggled to reenact the UAE 2013 form as he has been on loan most of his professional career.
In 2014, he was on loan to Celta de Vigo, in 2015, he made another loan switch to Ferroviário Maputo as well as to Portimonense S.C. in his third straight loan move.
Later in 2016, he secured a move to Futebol Clube do Porto B which is a Portuguese professional football team, which acts as the reserve side of FC Porto. First established in 1999, they compete in the LigaPro, the second division of Portuguese football.
Musa also represented Nigeria at 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup with the Flying Eagles where he featured in six games scoring four times.
On the other hand, Yahaya who married his heartthrob in Kaduna in December 2016, is yet to make an official debut with Super Eagles squad.
12. Chigozie Obasi (Without a club)
The former Golden Eaglets midfielder is currently without a club after traversing Europe since Nigeria’s 2013 exploits’ in United Arab Emirates.
At the last count, Obasi has trained with Monaco in 2015 but was not offered a contract at the end of trials.
The ex-Golden Eaglets midfielder previously offered a preliminary contract by Spanish side, Deportivo de La Coruña but the club failed to pay his transfer fee.
Interestingly, Obasi was one of the youngest in the Eaglets’ UAE 2013 squad, and was in thick of the action against Iran and Iraq as Nigeria battled all comers to the top prize.
13. Saviour Godwin (Roeselare, Belgium)
Jos-born Saviour Godwin is another member of the victorious FIFA U-17 Championship in United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2013 that left the shores of the country in search of the Golden Fleece as soon as the team returned home.
Godwin headed to Belgium, which previously served as ‘Mecca’ for Nigerian football players to launch their career in Europe back in the days. Sadly, not much has materialized for the right-footed winger who can also play as a striker.
Currently on the books of Roeselare in a three-year deal he signed in August 2016.
Saviour who previously featured for another Belgian club, KV Oostende on a season-long loan last tasted action for Nigeria when he was named in Nigeria’s 35-man provisional squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
14. Chidiebere Nwakali (On loan at Aberdeen, Scotland)
Chidiebere Nwakali is another member of the victorious Eaglets’ squad that won the 2013 U-17 FIFA World Cup in UAE, who has enjoyed more loan moves since sealing a pro deal with Manchester City in 2015.
He is currently on loan at Scottish Premiership club Aberdeen from Manchester City as a midfielder since January 2018. The Owerri-born Nwakali also had loan moves to Spain’s Málaga B in 2015, Girona (2015–2016), Norway’s IK Start in 2016 and Sogndal in 2017.
At the international scene, Nwakali has only featured once for the Eaglets’ scoring twice in eight appearances as well as the Flying Eagles in 2015. Sadly, he has not made any headway in the Super Eagles main squad till date.
15. Raymond Japhet (Without a club)
Ex-Golden Eaglets’ defender, Raymond Japhet has remained without a club since Nigeria’s victorious outing at the 2013 Fifa U-17 World Cup in United Arab Emirates.
The 20-year-old who did not play any game for the Manu Garba side as they conquered all teams at the cadet World Cup has had series of trials in Europe but no club offered Raymond a contract till date.
16. Abdulazeez Abubakar (Without a club)
Former youth international, Abdulazeez Abubakar scouted from Nath Boys Academy was one of the reserve goalkeepers of the UAE 2013 Eaglets’ squad.
Sadly, the shot-stopper never tasted action as Alampasu was in top shape in goal as Nigeria claimed the silverware.
Since, the celebrations died down, Abubakar is still missing in action and has not made it to pro football five years on.
17. Chidera Ezeh (On loan at Porto B, Portugal)
Full name Chidera Kennedy Ezeh won the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup with Nigeria, scoring a goal in the semi-final game.
Currently, the 20-year-old forward plays for Porto B (on loan from Portimonense) in Portugal’s Segunda Liga.
The former River Lane Academy product, who joined Porto since 2014–2016 campaign, has continued to experience a slide in club career after being shipped out on two loan spells to Portimonense in 2016–2017 season, as well as Porto B in 2018.
18. Taiwo Awoniyi (On loan at Royal Excel Mouscron, Belgium)
Taiwo Awoniyi is another important member of the squad as Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets’ claimed the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in UAE, scoring four goals in the process.
Taiwo also represented Nigeria at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand after winning the 2015 African U-20 Championship in Senegal.
In addition, Taiwo was also named in Dream Team VI 35-man provisional squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.
Lately, the Imperial Soccer Academy ace has not blossomed as expected after sealing a move to Liverpool for a fee worth around £400,000 in August 2015.
At the last count, he has been shipped out on loan from Liverpool severally. He spent 2015–2016 season at German side, FSV Frankfurt.
In the 2016–2017 campaign, The Reds’ again Taiwo endured a season long loan to NEC in the Dutch topflight.
After returning from the Dutch adventure, Awoniyi was again sent to Belgian side, Royal Excel Mouscron on loan for the 2017/18 campaign.
Holistically, after excelling at youth levels, Taiwo is yet to fulfill his true potentials as the 20-year-old is yet to find his way into the Super Eagles’ squad after shinning for the Eaglets, Flying Eagles and the U-23 sides.
19. Zaharaddeen Bello (Kano Pillars)
Ex-Golden Eaglets defender, Zaharaddeen Bello was scouted from Dabo Babes Academy by Manu Garba at the age of 15.
Bello, currently on the payroll of Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) side, Kano Pillars, represented Nigeria at the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2013, was also in action in the Flying Eagles as well as the U23 team.
20. Baba Salihu (Without a club)
Ex-Golden Eaglets midfielder, Baba Salihu, discovered from Rangers Academy Bida was a member of the UAE 2013 Eaglets’ winning squad.
Sadly, Salihu was not considered for any of the games as Nigeria claimed the Eaglets’ claimed the silverware.
Five years on, the 20-year-old Salihu is still missing in action as he failed to make it to pro football.
21. Francis Uzoho (Deportivo de La Coruña U-23, Spain)
Born in Nwangele, Imo state on October 28, 1998, Francis Odinaka Uzoho at 14, was a member of the Golden Eaglets’ squad that won the 2013 FIFA U-17 in United Arab Emirates (UAE) after he was converted into a goalkeeper at the age of 12.
After the age-grade competition in UAE, Uzoho joined Qatari Aspire Academy in 2013.
And in 2016, after impressing on a tournament in Barcelona, he joined Deportivo de La Coruña's Juvenil squad.
Age restriction meant that Uzoho could only sign the dotted lines with the La Liga side until January 2017. And the deal was sealed. He started training with the first team and was later promoted to the reserve team ahead of the 2017–18 campaign.
At the international stage, Uzoho who was mainly used as backup to Dele Alampasu five years ago in UAE 2013, is close to featuring for Nigeria’s Super Eagles during next month’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Uzoho who made his Eagles’ debut on November 14, 2017 after replacing Daniel Akpeyi in the 4–2 friendly win against Argentina, is another shinning light from the UAE 2013 Eaglets’ squad.
Better known simply as Francis in Spain, the shot stopper has made two additional appearances for Nigeria against Poland and Serbia in Pre-World Cup friendly games.
Hopefully, Uzoho will be listed in the Eagles’ Provisional squad for 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia on May 14, 2018 by Eagles’ manager, Gernot Rohr.
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