Twenty-one young Nigerians will be flying the nation’s green-white-green flag in Poland this summer as the nation seeks to bring home the U20 Fifa World Cup.
Anticipating the championship, TheCable will begin profiling the Flying Eagles World Cup squad by starting out with the three goalkeepers who have been picked to travel to Poland.
Coach Paul Aigbogun picked his 21-man team with three goalkeepers included. Two home-based lads made the cut; there is a place for promising Jonathan Zaccala.
Kogi United’s Detan Ogundare, Kwara United’s Olawale Oremade and Triestina’s Jonathan Zaccala have been picked as the three goalkeepers in the squad, and will battle for the number one jersey against Qatar in Nigeria’s opening game on May 24, 2019.
But who are these three keepers?
Detan Ogundare (Kogi United, Nigeria)
Detan Ogundare has been favoured by Aigbogun in recent friendly matches, and is the favourite to be number one at the cadet tournament. He has impressed many with his shot stopping, and distribution of the ball.
Most of Ogundare’s appearances for the U20 have been in qualifiers, and it remains to be seen how he would deal in the pressurised atmosphere in Poland.
Strength: Reflexes, and shot stopping
Weakness: Prone to occasional errors, and isn’t most commanding at claiming crosses.
Olawale Oremade (Kwara United, Nigeria)
A custodian with great reflexes, Oremade has pulled off a number of smart saves at the U20 Nations Cup, but his distribution and decision making can sometimes be very poor.
In four appearances for the Flying Eagles, the Kwara United starlet has kept three clean sheets and conceded one goal in the other three matches.
Strength: Excellent shot stopper.
Weakness: Distribution and inability to handle crosses.
Jonathan Zaccala (Triestina FC, Italy)
The most exposed of the three goalkeepers, Zaccala, has a solid all-round game, with good shot stopping ability and confidence at claiming crosses into the box. However, his distribution and concentration can sometimes be poor.
Born in Italy to Nigerian parents, he is among the numerous Nigerian players born abroad who was approached by coach Aigbogun to pledge their future to Nigeria at international level.
Yet to be capped by Italy at any level, Aigbogun watched him at close quarters after the Africa U20 Cup of Nations and the young lad didn’t disappoint.
Strength: Claiming crosses