Golden Eaglets captain, Precious Williams, has revealed his aspirations to use the 2023 CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as a platform for a promising career that will eventually lead him to play for the Super Eagles soon, Soccernet.ng reports.
The national cadet team has been known as the first step towards international football for many Nigerian youngsters, with the likes of Nwankwo Kanu and Wilson Oruma being notable graduates.
Even the current Golden Eaglets head coach, Nduka Ugbade, was a key member of the winning team during the inaugural edition of the U17 World Cup. Williams believes he can follow in their footsteps, beginning with success in Algeria.
In an interview with Cafonline, Williams, who plays at the HB Football Academy in Abuja, expressed his excitement about wearing the national team jersey and hoped to play for the Super Eagles eventually.
“It is a very special moment for me to wear the national team jersey, and I want to go from here to the Super Eagles. This is a start and I hope it continues,” he said.
Inspired by Napoli’s Osimhen
Williams can further take inspiration from the recent success stories of Super Eagles stars such as Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Samuel Chukwueze, and Taiwo Awoniyi.
They made their names at the TotalEnergies U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and are currently shining on the global platform.
Williams hopes to follow in their footsteps and also shine.
“It is a big encouragement just watching them at the highest level and knowing that they started here at the U17 Cup of Nations. It is a big encouragement for us players that we can make it too,” Williams added
2023 U17 AFCON begins today
The 2023 AFCON tournament will commence on Saturday, with hosts Algeria taking on debutants Somalia.
Nigeria’s first match will be against Zambia at the Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine on Sunday.
The Golden Eaglets have qualified for the tournament a record ten times and are one of only five countries to have won the tournament twice since the start of its new format in 1995.
The team aims to achieve two main targets: qualifying for the FIFA World Cup and going for a hat-trick of titles.
Teams that progress to the semi-finals will automatically earn a slot into the next World Cup to be staged later in the year. The Golden Eaglets have won the Mundial five times before, making this achievement the least expected of the team.