The stage is set for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland, where 24 countries will fight to determine the best youth football-playing nation on earth.
The competition, which kicks off today and ends on June 16, is attracting much attention because of the quality of youngsters that participated in their various continental championships.
This is the championship that threw up the likes of Lionel Messi and most of the current big names in world football. It is also a competition that attracts a large number of scouts who will be looking out for the next big star.
Nigeria is among the 24 countries taking part in this year’s championship after missing the last edition of the competition.
Because the country did not qualify for the last edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the Flying Eagles are made up of entirely new set of players selected from various academies and clubs across the world.
As this is their first experience in a world tournament, Coach Paul Aigbogun’s ability to get the best out of them will be crucial if Nigeria must succeed in the competition.
Placed in Group D alongside U.S., Qatar and Ukraine, the Flying Eagles have been tipped to come out of the pool unscathed. This ambition will be tested in their opening game tomorrow against Qatar, which, in Aspire, has one of the best football academies in the world.
The 24 teams in the U-20 World Cup are Nigeria, Poland, Ecuador, Saudi, Senegal, South Africa, Honduras, Korea, Mali, Mexico, Portugal, Panama, Norway, France, Argentina, Ukraine, Uruguay, Qatar, U.S, Colombia, Tahiti, Japan, New Zealand and Italy.