The 2019 African Games kicks off this weekend. The tournament will see some of the brightest prospects from the continent face each other in a bid to impress in a summer with activities.
The 12th edition of the Men’s African Games Football Tourney starts on August 16, with Nigeria drawn in Group A of the competition, to contend with hosts Morocco, South Africa and Burkina Faso.
Nigeria take on Burkina Faso, before matches against South Africa and Morocco in Rabat.
Burundi, Ghana, Mali and Senegal will battle things out in Group B.
The African Games is traditionally an excellent opportunity for budding stars to shine.
Here, Futbalgalore.com gives the lowdown on eight Flying Eagles players who could star in this summer’s tournament.
Olawale Oladoye (Water FC)
Water FC have an abnormally high quantity of precocious youngsters on their books at present, and the ‘Nigerian Vieira’ is one of the best. Olawale Oladoye is a hard-working, box-to-box central midfielder who is also a proficient ball player.
If the Flying Eagles are to advance in this summer’s African Games, he will almost certainly be hugely influential.
Peter Eletu (Prince Kazeem FC)
Peter Eletu will be aiming to use this summer’s competition as a career launch pad.
The midfield technician is very promising and exciting to watch. And for a Nigerian team who will likely need to break down stout opposition defences, his precision, creativity and goal threat will prove crucial.
Ahmad Ghali (MFM FC)
Ahmad Ghali is a tricky customer that defenders will be on the lookout for. He has the ability to run through the channels and score important goals.
Emeka Chinonso (Brookhouse)
Standing at six foot plus, Chinonso has the physical appearance of a traditional centre forward, but he in fact possesses another key attribute.
On the ball, he has shown the requisite efficiency and composure to deliver.
Nigeria will need every ounce of his strength and assuredness if they are to win in Morocco.
Saeed Jibril (Plateau United)
During the friendlies, Saeed Jibril put in a number of vivacious individual displays, evidencing a deft touch, exquisite passing, a desire to create and ability to finish off half chances. Perhaps the biggest compliment that can be paid is that, even in a Nigeria U20 squad packed with talent, he stands out.
The tricky name has been included among the plentiful transfer rumours of late. He’s already an elite player in the making, a reality that this summer’s tournament could only underline.
Adeshina Gata (Wikki Tourists)
The winger has shown hints of serious promise when he has appeared. His bullish and incisive dribbling, combined with quick turns and an audacious streak, make him a difficult proposition for opposition defences to handle.
Detan Ogundare (Kogi United)
His future at club level remains uncertain, but Ogundare’s international future couldn’t be much clearer. The 18-year-old has earned such a lofty status through consistently spectacular performances for Kogi United.
With an increasingly commanding approach and a willingness to organise his defence, the teenager has a maturity beyond his years. He also possesses incredible reflexes, and a willingness to pass out from the back when appropriate. Even at youth level, Nigeria’s defence is something to be proud of, and the shot-stopper is a big part of that.
Success Makanjuola (Water FC)
Makanjuola is fast becoming one of the most sought-after prospects in Nigerian football with his form. An imaginative attacker, a vibrant dribbler and an astute finisher.
With his outstanding close control, low centre of gravity, diminutive appearance and accurate left foot, it was inevitable that Makanjuola would be tagged ‘the Nigerian Lionel Messi’.
He will be hoping to reconfirm his quality in Rabat 2019.