A group consisting of officials of world football-governing body, FIFA and members of the local organizing committee of the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup will receive the U-20 National Team, Flying Eagles, in New Plymouth today when they berth in New Zealand for FIFA’s cadet world championship.
The Nigeria delegation flew out of Germany (where they had a three-week final camping programme) on Sunday, on the first leg of a 25 –hour journey across three continents. Led by the vice chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Fresh, the delegation flew aboard Emirates Airline to Dubai on Sunday, and was scheduled to connect a long haul flight to Melbourne from Dubai on Monday morning, before another flight to Auckland (New Zealand’s commercial and economic capital), followed by a 40-minute domestic flight from Auckland to New Plymouth, where the African champions play all Group E matches against Brazil, North Korea and Hungary.
They will be the first Nigerian contingent to be received at a FIFA final tournament in nine months. The last delegation was also U-20; the girls that captivated the football world on the way to reaching the final of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada last year.
Since first playing at the global championship, in Mexico 32 years ago, the Flying Eagles have finished in third place once and won the silver medals twice.
But the Nigeria Football Federation and millions of Nigeria ball fans believe the present squad has the talent and strength-in-depth to go all the way.