In 2007, they conquered the world but where are Nigeria’s U-17 champions?


By Taiwo Adelu

When the late Yemi Tella led a team of youngsters to South Korea to win the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, they gave Nigeria its third crown at the cadre tournament after previous wins in Japan 1993 and China 1985 championships.
Like previous junior teams, many Nigerians had high hope for these youngsters and hoped that someday they will form the core of the senior national team, the Super Eagles.
Encomiums and accolades were poured on the lads with many Nigerians agreeing that the bulk of the players should graduate to the U-20, U-23 after their exploits.
But unfortunately, none of the players, who should be between the ages of 22-24 (by 2015), are playing for the Super Eagles or for a major club.
Majority of them are plying their trade in the local league while some are playing abroad in obscure leagues. With the present whereabout of nine of the 21 players at the World Cup in 2007 unknown, TheNews Magazine researched the progress of others.
A check on their counterparts who featured in the 2007 U-17 World Cup revealed that some of the players are today performing very well for their countries and clubs.
Some of them include James Rodríguez of Columbia who is now playing for Real Madrid since 2014; Fábio Henrique Tavares of Brazil plays for AS Monaco; German midfielder Toni Kroos plays for Real Madrid. He was called to the senior team for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and was part of the team in Brazil 2014 World Cup.
Late Yemi Tella got his team playing tiki-taka football, a delight for football fans across the globe
TheNEWS Magazine findings revealed the progress of Tella’s squad to the Korea 2007 U-17 World Cup
Goalkeeper Laide Okanlawon:
Featured briefly in the U-20 and U-23 Olympic team, Okanlawon failed to take his game to …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper