By Izuchukwu Okosi(@izuchukwu_okosi):
Former Super Eagles midfield ace Friday Ekpo has reacted to calls in some sections for the integration of some of the victorious Flying Eagles players at the recently concluded African Youth Championship in Senegal into the U23 national team, Dream Team VI, and the senior national team, the Super Eagles.
Dream Team VI coach, Samson Siasia, is reportedly keen on inviting Flying Eagles skipper, Musa Mohammed and striker Taiwo Awoniyi into his team for the return leg of the All Africa Games qualifiers against Zambia on April 11.
However speaking to Completesportsnigeria.com, Ekpo notes that Nigerians must not be carried away by the feat of the Manu Garba coached- team, insisting that their progression into the senior teams must be gradual.
“The Flying Eagles had a good outing at the AYC and have really shown that they have a big future.
“I have seen stories in the papers and heard people say they should be promoted to the U23 national team and even the Super Eagles right away.,” Ekpo says with a laughter.
“The thing is that I agree some of them can fit into the Super Eagles because of the need to make certain positions stronger, but Nigerians should be patient with these players.
Ekpo then states how best he thinks the development of the Flying Eagles players can be fast-tracked.
“Some of the boys can play the All Africa Games qualifiers, I agree. That is if it won’t affect the plans of Manu Garba and his back-room staff. The first leg ended 0-0 and Siasia was apparently not satisfied with the outcome of that game.
“Some of the Flying Eagles players can play that (AAG qualifier against Zambia) and possibly be drafted into the U23 permanently for the 2016 Olympic Games qualifiers and the Olympics proper. But asking that they get into the Super Eagles may be too soon a decision to make. They have to improve their games further,” the one-time Calabar Rovers player tells Completesportsnigeria.com.
The Nigeria Football Federation are expected to submit the preliminary list of the Flying Eagles squad to FIFA for the U20 World Cup in New Zealand, not later than April 1, 2015.
Completesportsnigeria.com learnt that most of the players that were in the team that won the AYC are expected to be in the 35-man provisional list, with the injection of those that missed the AYC due to injuries or not being released by their European clubs altogether.