It was the back-to-back tournaments that catapulted Nigeria above Brazil and to the throne as a five-time champion of the FIFA U-17 World Cup ™.
At UAE 2013, the Golden Eaglets averaged a staggering 3.7 goals per game en route to their fourth crown, before 3.3 per game propelled them to their defense at Chile 2015.
On the fifth anniversary of the final of the latter in Viña del Mar, we look at what five members of those prodigious classes have achieved.
Academy star Taye scored four goals in Nigeria’s 6-1 win over Mexico, and hit the same opponents in a 3-0 win in the 2013 UAE final. He finished UAE 2013 with six goals, seven assists. , the adidas Silver Boot and the adidas Golden Ball.
Iheanacho’s performances in the Arabian Peninsula left a who’s who among the European giants competing for his signature. Manchester City took advantage of it, but the forward had a hard time playing due to the presence of Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesús, both protagonists of FIFA youth tournaments, so he signed for Leicester City in 2017. Iheanacho has scored three goals and two assists in two UEFA Europa League starts this season.
The 24-year-old started Nigeria’s last two matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia ™ and has scored nine goals in 27 international matches in total.
Despite playing solo in goal for the first time when he was 12 years old, at 14 he was a substitute for Dele Alampasu at UAE 2013.
Uzoho became, at 18 years and 352 days, the youngest foreign goalkeeper to play in La Liga. After some loans, he is now at APOEL in Cyprus.
The 6-foot-5 Nwangele native kept the goal for Nigeria in his three matches at Russia 2018, keeping a clean sheet against Iceland and impressing against Lionel Messi and Argentina.
The multifunctional midfielder, a native of the same city as Nwankwo Kanu, Owerri, won the adidas Ballon d’Or in Chile 2015.
Nwakali joined Arsenal in 2016 but moved to Huesca last year and helped them win promotion to La Liga. He represented Nigeria in a friendly against Atlético de Madrid in May 2018, but despite scoring a spectacular goal, he missed his call for the World Cup the following month.
Osimhen scored ten goals at Chile 2015, breaking the record of nine goals for a FIFA U-17 World Cup shared by Florent Sinama Pongolle and Souleymane Coulibaly. The Ultimate Strikers Academy player also became the first champion to score in all of his team’s matches.
Things didn’t work out for Osimhen in Wolfsburg, but in the Lille colors, he finished as the fourth top scorer in Ligue 1 last season, alongside Neymar and behind Moussa Dembele, Kylian Mbappé and top scorer Wissam Ben Yedder.
The 21-year-old recently moved to Napoli and scored his first goal for the club with a good shot against Atalanta.
Did you know
The 70 million euros that Napoli paid Lille for Osimhen made him the most expensive African footballer in history, breaking the fee that Manchester City paid Leicester City for Riyad Mahrez.