President Mohammadu Buhari is expected to host the victorious Golden Eaglets squad that won the FIFA U-17 World Cup for a record fifth time in Chile, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja today, Sunday, November 29, 2015.
Today becomes even more memorable as the first Nigerian U-16 side that won the inaugural FIFA Kodak World Youth Championship in China 30 years ago will also be honoured by the country's number 1 citizen who was also the Nigeria military head of state in 1985 when that feat was achieved.
Prior to the triumphant outing in Beijing China in August 1985, an unheralded Nigeria U-16 team team, called Baby Eagles then, toured all the Nigerian states. They travelled to China unnoticed, but their return was triumphant, with a massive crowd – probably surpassed only by the return of the Atlanta 96 Dream Team.
While hosting the team captained by Nduka Ugbade and coached by Sebastian Broderick -Imasuen, an overjoyed Buhari hailed them as 'World Golden Eaglets'. And the name stuck since then. He went on to announce the 1985 heroes' rewards: CBN shares, scholarships and immortalization by way of street names in the players' respective states.
Buhari was overthrown by a military coup of Major Ibrahim Babangida so he could not fulfil his promises to his World Golden Eaglets. For 30 years, different Nigerian governments refused to redeem the pledges made to the heroes.
Back as civilian president, Buhari has graciously offered to fulfil what he could not do in 1985.
As today's Presidential reception beckons, Completesportsnigeria.com's IZUCHUKWU OKOSI traces the whereabouts of the 'Baby Eagles' after 30 years, and what some of them do presently.
Position and Jersey Number: Goalkeeper, 1
Lucky Agbonsevbare was the first choice goalkeeper of the Nigerian team in China. He was in goal in all of Nigeria's six games in China.
After his football career, Agbonsevbare relocated to the United Kingdom where is based today.
Position and Jersey Number: Defender, 2
Tenworimi Duere is currently based in Italy. What he does presently is unknown even to some of his then colleagues as Completesportsnigeria.com found out.
Position and Jersey Number: Defender, 3
Nduka Ugbade is currently into coaching. He was a tv football pundit before veering into coaching. He was the assistant coach to Manu Garba when the Golden Eaglets won the U-17 World Cup for the fourth time in United Arab Emirates in 2013.
Ugbade was a coach at an Academy club in Lagos called the Mountain of Fire Football Club before his national team duty.
Position and Jersey Number: Defender, 4
A street in Mushin, Lagos was named after him, called 'Fatai Atere Way'. He is one of the few squad members who benefitted from the government's immortalization reward for his achievement with the Eaglets.
Fatai Atere is presently living in Maryland, USA. He moved to the United States in 1990. He was Managing Director of the EJJE Youth Soccer Academy in Tampa, Florida.
Position and Jersey Number: Defender, 5
'Carlos' Binebi Numa went into football administration after his playing days. Based in Rivers state, he is also into youth development programme and marketing of sports equipment.
Position and Jersey Number: Midfielder, 6
Flamboyant Central defender, Kingsley Aikhionbare, who was the bandana-wearing eaglet in team died in 1996, in London. His 74 year old mother, Cecilia Aikionbare presented herself to the NFF secretariat in Abuja ahead of the planned reception and introduced herself the deceased player's next of kin.
Position and Jersey Number: 7
Salisu Nakade told Completesportsnigeria.com a few years ago that he was into the business of buying and selling Italian shoes in Jos, Plateau State. He was part of the All-Star team comprising of former Nigerian internationals who converged in Surulere, Lagos to unwind and keep fit.
Position And Jersey Number: Midfielder, 8
Sani Adamu is now a coach and presently holds the job as the Assistant coach of Plateau United Football Club of Jos.
Position And Jersey Number: Forward, 9
Jonathan Akpoborie played for German clubs, Hansa Rostock, VfB Stuttgart Vfl ,Wolfsburg, amongst others.
Akpoborie went into shipping business as his career thrived.
But in 2001, his shipping business went down as it was alleged that his ship called Etireno was carrying children to Gabon, meant for slavery.
Female Award-winning Swiss film writer and director, Heidi Specogna did a documentary on the ill-fated ship titled 'The Goalgetters' Ship'.
Presently, Akpoborie is an analyst on Television. He worked with Supersport, and now Startimes, the pay tv station that has the exclusive coverage of the German Bundesliga for the Nigerian territory. He is also player agent for Rogon Sports Management.
Position And Jersey Number: Forward, 10
Victor Igbinoba who scored in Nigeria's 2-0 win over West Germany in the final of the U-16 World Cup in China on August 11 1985, is now based in Holland. However Completesportsnigeria.com could not ascertain what he does presently there.
Position And Jersey: Forward, 11
Completesportsnigeria.com's source in the United States of America confirmed that Bella Momoh is presently in the US Army as a Staff Sergent and has been on Special duties for the US Army.
Position And Jersey Number: Goalkeeper, 12
Imama Amapakabor is presently the chief coach of Rangers International FC of Enugu. He was an assistant coach at former club Sharks, and also worked as coach with Nigerian league champions, Enyimba.
Position And Jersery Number: Defender, 13
Son of late Nigerian coach, Willy Bazuaye who was assistant coach at the 1996 Olympics. Like his late father, Baldwin Bazuaye went into coaching after his playing career and has managed Lobi Stars Football Club of Makurdi.
Position And Jersey Number: Forward, 14
Babatunde Joseph relocated to New York in 1988 where he worked for sometime. He is now into coaching at the grassroots level.
Position And Jersey Number: Defender, 15
Chukwuma Nwoha's whereabouts and his present commitments are unknown to some of his China '85 colleagues.
A street was named after him in Owerri; Chukwuma Nwoha Road in Trans Egbu Estate, close to the Imo State University (IMSU) Owerri, the Imo State capital.
Position And Jersey Number: Midfielder, 16
Mohammed Yahaya works with the Niger State Ministry of Sports Development as a civil servant. He read Purchasing and Supply at the Kaduna State Polytechnic.
Position And Jersey Number: Midfielder, 17
Hilary Adiki is now a school teacher in Port Harcourt. He read Human Kinetics at the University of Lagos.
Position And Jersey Number: Midfielder, 18
Not much has been heard about Dele Abubakar since that China '85 feat. In fact, one of his team-mates told Completesportsnigeria.com that most of the players in that squad hardly communicate with each other since that historic feat in Beijing, China.
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