Samson Siasia’s 2005 World Youth Championship squad had good, talented players. It is perhaps one of Nigeria’s best youth squads in history, going by the number of talented players it had.
Many players from that squad went on to represent the Super Eagles while others had different career phases.
From John Obi Mikel, who stands as the most illustrious member of that squad to Taye Taiwo, another highly-rated member of the team, the 2005 team was one to note.
Two members of that squad – Olubayo Adefemi and captain, Isaac Promise have since departed and are remembered for their great talents, others, including Dele Adeleye, Onyekachi Apam, Daniel Akpeyi and Sani Kaita went on to represent the Super Eagles.
Of this group of players, Apam is probably the most talented and was highly rated when he played.
While injuries have since forced him to retire early, he showed enough in the French Ligue 1 to turn heads and give a lasting memory of his abilities as a defender.
Legendary France and Tottenham goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris remembers Apam for the massive talent he showed. He described him as one of the best African players he has played with.
“I played with many African players and it’s difficult to pick one. I remember the first one who really impressed me was … maybe you don’t know him, Onyekachi Apam,” he told Supersport.
”He’s Nigerian and I played with him in Nice and he was just impressive. He was a central back and by that time he played… the first game he played was on the left side. He played left back, we played Marseille at home and at that time Ribery played on the right, and at the end of the game, he had to change his side because he could not beat him 1 v 1.
“And unfortunately, he had bad injuries and he could not follow the rhythm of professional football, unfortunately for him. He was really talented.”
Apam last played for Seattle Sounders in the Major League Soccer but never appeared in any game for them due to consistent injuries.
He featured for the Super Eagles in the 2008 African Cup of Nations and was also a part of the silver winning Beijing 2008 Olympics squad.