The likes of Nwankwo Kanu,Victor Ikpeba, Celestine Babayaro,Wilson Oruma and several others are all Golden Eaglets graduates who went on to do great things with the senior national team. However, for every talented youngster who made the grade, countless abound who fell by the roadside.
With another batch of under-aged players currently fighting to make a name for themselves in Chile,SoccerNet Nigeria takes a look at 5 wonder kids who promised so much but did not deliver enough to warrant a call up to the Super Eagles.
King Osanga was a member of the Nigerian national under-17 team that conquered all comers to lift the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup in South Africa.
It seemed he continued his upward trajectory when he won the Pepsi MVP CAF Champions League Award in 2009, but his growth has since been stunted by club troubles.
Still just 25 years, he has enough time on his side to prove his mettle and become a top star that even Sunday Oliseh cannot ignore.
Nigeria made it to the final of the FIFA U-17 World Championship in Trinidad and Tobago in 2001 after recording four straight wins. Strong, tricky midfielder Soga Sambo was the creator-in-chief for that side and was the key man in the group stages before Femi Opabunmi took over. The Golden Eaglets lost that year’s final 0-3 to France and Sambo faded into oblivion.
At age 25, many expected Macauley Chrisantus to have already nailed a place in the Super Eagles but it’s a dream still far away for the former Golden Eaglets hero. The AEK Athens star rose to prominence after his seven goals helped Nigeria to triumph at the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup in South Korea. Things have not gone as he would have liked and Nigerians are yet to see the best of him.
Finally, Nigeria was allowed to host the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2009 and after winning three previous editions, all eyes were trained on the Golden Eaglets to repeat the feat on home soil. Nigerians in turn placed their hopes on the silky, Messi-like feet of Stanley Okoro. It was another star however who would go on to grab all the headlines. His name: Emmanuel Sani. His 5 goals at the tourney won him the Golden Ball. Now 22 and without a club, he has not continued in such hot form and in turn continues to be shut out of the senior side.
At the 1993 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Japan, Nwankwo Kanu and Wilson Oruma deservedly took all the plaudits but many people would still remember the cold, clinical finisher in front of them: Peter Anosike.
It still beats reasoning how such a talent never made it to the Super Eagles.