Selected team of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) U-17 would leave for Johannesburg, South Africa this weekend to participate in a 7-day football tournament organised by "The Future Champions."
The team is made up of 20 players selected by the coaching crew led by former Super Eagles coach Austin Eguavoen who is being by a former U-13 national team coach Danladi Nasidi with Emeka Amadi as the goalkeepers’ trainer.
The players were selected after a screening exercise conducted for players invited from youth teams of NPFL clubs. Those selected are players registered for the 2016/17 season by NPFL Clubs and who are under the age of 17. Clubs whose players made the cut include Wikki Tourists, FC IfeanyiUbah, Remo Stars and Kano Pillars. Others are Nasarawa United, Gombe United and Shooting Stars.
The League Management Company ( LMC) said in compliance with the rules of the tournament, the selected players also passed further age eligibility tests with only players born in the year 2000 and after, being eligible.
Speaking to the media Coach Eguavoen expressed delight that a Nigerian cadet team has been invited to play in the tournament and said it will be of benefit to the country in the future. "I must commend the LMC for this vision and also the organisers of the Future Champions group. This will benefit the league in the future but it's disappointing that top teams like Enyimba, Rangers, Rivers United don't have young players in their rosters. The idea behind this is to force these teams to have youth teams."
"From what we've seen so far in the trainings we've had, it's clear to us that we have a talented team and the future for these players is bright. The main objective is to expose these boys and help project their careers," Eguavoen remarked.
The NPFL U-17 All Star team have played two friendly games, winning 6-0 against Dante Stars FC of Abuja on Tuesday, and 8-0 against Royal Academy on Wednesday. They will play one more game before departing for Johannesburg on Saturday 18th March, 2017.
Teams expected to participate at the Future Champions football tourney include FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Everton FC, Shanghai Shenhua, Paris St. Germain, defending champions Atletico Madrid amongst others.. The tourney is expected to hold between March 20-27 in Gauteng, South Africa.
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