Pep Guardiola led Manchester City to their fourth Premier League title on Sunday to become the first team to defend the English league title in ten years. The Cityzens finished the season with a whooping 98 points after claiming the title with a record breaking 100 points last season. This feat highlights the effect of Guardiola on the team and Nigerians are hoping that one of his City stars can help win the U-20 World Cup which starts later this month.
There has been several theories about Guardiola’s influence on National teams and it seems to be too much of a coincidence that national teams improve when Guardiola is managing a team in the country. Spain won the World Cup while he was at Barcelona, Germany won the World Cup while he was at Germany and England reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup; their best campaign since 1966.
While the Catalan manager is not in charge of any team in Nigeria, he is the manager of one of the U-20 stars expected to light up the Youth World Cup in Poland this summer. Flying Eagles head coach Paul Aigbogun has unveiled his final squad list for the tournament, hoping to see his players have a memorable campaign in Poland.
Paul Aigbogun named a strong side including Manchester City’s highly rated Tom Dele-Bashiru and Bournemouth’s Nnamdi Ofoborh. Dele-Bashiru made his professional debut on 19 December 2017 in the EFL Cup against Leicester City, replacing Phil Foden in the 91st minute and playing in extra time.
The Manchester City man is highly rated for a reason and would be under immense pressure to show his worth to the Nigerian fans who are expecting so much from him. Perhaps, it would be best for the Flying Eagles boss to build his team around the Premier League star who is already used to the pressure to succeed in a tough environment like the Manchester City set-up.
A powerhouse of a midfielder, Tom is capable of driving the team forward from midfield due to his direct style of play. Dele-Bashiru made a real impression during his first season in the U18 Premier League, scoring six times in 15 games. Dele-Bashiru has represented the England under-16 team twice but this would be his first major tournament with Nigeria.
The Flying Eagles will be making their 12th appearance on the global scene having finished fourth during the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations staged in Niger. One of the best Flying Eagles side ever finished second in 2005, losing narrowly to Argentina who had two penalties converted by the incredible Lionel Messi.
His level of exposure and experience with Manchester City would come in handy in an international competition where stars are made. According to reports from camp, his performance and attitude points to his willingness to take the role of a leader on the field of play, even if he’s not the official captain of the team.
Dele-Bashiru definitely has a huge assignment ahead of him as his team-mates and Nigerians will rely on him to live up to the hype of being a Manchester City product. Nigeria have been drawn in Group D alongside Qatar, Ukraine and the United States. They begin their campaign against Qatar on March 24 at the Stadion Miejski w Tychach, Tychy.
— The NFF 🇳🇬 (@thenff) May 13, 2019
Flying Eagles Squad in full
Goalkeepers: Detan Ogundare (Kogi United); Olawale Oremade (Kwara United; Jonathan Zaccala (Triestina FC, Italy)
Defenders: Valentine Ozornwafor (Enyimba FC); Aliu Salawudeen (Amuneke Academy); Igoh Ogbu (Rosenborg BK, Norway); Ikouwem Utin (Enyimba FC); Muhammad Rabiu (Plateau United); Jamil Muhammad (Kano Pillars)
Midfielders: Nnamdi Ofoborh (AFC Bournemouth, England); Eletu Peter (Prince Kazeem FC); Ayotomiwa Dele-Bashiru (Manchester City, England); Kingsley Michael (AC Perugia, Italy); Effiom Maxwell (Enyimba FC); Aniekeme Okon (Akwa United); Collins Sor (Oasis FC)
Forwards: Jerome Adams (Sogndal IL, Norway); Tijani Muhammed (FC Banik Ostrava, Czech Republic); Henry Offia (IK Sirius Uppsala, Sweden); Chinonso Emeka (Club Brookhouse, England); Success Makanjuola (Water FC)