The Nigeria U-20 national football team will later this month participate in the Orange African Youth Championship in South Africa. A few days ago, several media channels reported the final squad of Nigeria U-20:
Goalkeepers: Danjuma Paul (Nasarawa United FC, Nigeria), John Felagha (Aspire Academy, Qatar), Gideon Gambo (Sharks FC, Nigeria)
Defenders: Mackson Ojobo (Enyimba FC, Nigeria), Ganiu Ogungbe (Gateway FC, Nigeria), Mohammed Aliyu (Villarreal FC, Spain), Terna Suswan (Vitorial Setubal, Portugal), Kingsley Oluocha (Abia Warriors FC, Nigeria), Gbenga Arokoyo (Kwara United FC, Nigeria), Emmanuel Anyanwu (Enyimba FC, Nigeria)
Midfielders: Chidi Osuchukwu (Dolphins FC, Nigeria), Ramon Azeez (Almeria FC, Spain), Philemon Daniel (Kwara United FC, Nigeria), Abdul Ajagun (Dolphins FC, Nigeria)
Forwards: Uche Nwofor (Enugu Rangers, Nigeria), Olanrewaju Kayode (ASEC Mimosas, Ivory Coast), Edafe Egbedi (Unattached), Stanley Okoro (Almeria FC, Spain), Terry Envoh (Sharks FC, Nigeria), Gomo Onduku (Sharks FC, Nigeria), Ahmed Musa (VVV Venlo, Netherlands)
According to the CAF-regulations, only players born on or after 01.01.1991 are eligible to play.
I have strong reason to believe that several players in the Nigeria squad are older, which I will focus on in this post and try to document / make probable.
The following players in the squad play for teams in the Nigeria Premier League 2010-2011:
GIDEON GAMBO – SHARKS FC
Gideon Gambo is the reserve goalkeeper at Sharks FC. Okiemute Odah (born 23.11.1988) is an established first choice and Gambo has not played many matches in the Nigeria Premier League. The date of birth of Gambo is unknown to me but I have no reason to believe that Gambo is born earlier than 01.01.1991.
MACKSON OJOBO – ENYIMBA FC
Ojobo is a right-back / left-back who joined Enyimba FC from Bayelsa United FC before the current campaign. Mackson Ojobo is also known as “Markson Ojobo”. I was very surprised to read about Ojobo’s inclusion in the squad as Ojobo is a quite experienced player in the Nigeria Premier League.
Ojobo is a former player of Ocean Boys FC and was part of the team that won the Nigeria Premier League 2006. The Nigeria Premier League 2006 was played between 15.04.2006 and 27.08.2006.
Ojobo also won the Nigeria Premier League in 2008-2009 with Bayelsa United FC.
The following quote is taken from an article by Goal from 17.07.2009:
“Young left-back Markson Ojobo has now won two league winners’ medals after he was also part of neighbours Ocean Boys’ triumph three years ago.”
This article from AllAfrica confirms that Ojobo was part of the Ocean Boys defence in January 2007:
“Disu will likely retain goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa in goal, with Mackson Ojobo, Mimi Atedze, Ifeanyi Onwuatu and Brown Adegie likely to man the defence.”
I personally find it rather hard to believe that Ojobo is born on or after 01.01.1991. This would have made his 14 or 15 years old when he won the Nigeria Premier League 2006 with Ocean Boys FC. It is very rare that such young players compete in the tough Nigerian football.
GBENGA AROKOYO – KWARA UNITED FC
Arokoyo is a talented central defender, presented in my post from 27.02.2011.
I believe that Arokoyo is born in 1992 or 1993 and I am sure that he will have a brilliant tournament in South Africa.
EMMANUEL ANYANWU – ENYIMBA FC
Anyanwu is a regular central defender at Enyimba FC. He made his full international debut for Nigeria on 11.08.2010 against South Korea. I have no information about the age of Anyanwu but he has not been around that long and I believe that he is born on or after 01.01.1991.
CHIDI OSUCHUKWU – DOLPHINS FC
Osuchukwu plays as an attacking midfielder at Dolphins FC. He was presented in my post from 20.02.2011.
The following is taken from my post:
“Earlier this month, Osuchukwu was once again training with the Nigeria U-20 national football team, which was rather surprising to me based on the date of birth I found on the official homepage of Gateway FC, 16.02.1990. The Nigeria U-20 national football team are preparing for the Orange African Youth Championship to be played in Libya from 18.03.2011 to 01.04.2011. Last week, Nigeria U-20 played a friendly match against Libya U-20. The match ended 1-1 and Nigeria’s goal was scored by Chidi Osuchukwu.”
Unfortunately, the official homepage of Gateway FC is now deleted and I cannot document the date of birth 16.02.1990. However, I strongly believe that this is the correct birthdate of the player.
PHILEMON DANIEL – KWARA UNITED FC
Daniel is a defensive midfielder at Kwara United FC. He was one of the revelations of the 2009-2010 season according to SuperSport and has also been in fine form this season.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe that Daniel is born on or after 01.01.1991. According to the official website of Kwara United FC, Daniel is born 20.11.1992, which is found by following this link:
Interestingly, former clubs are apparently:
“Kaduna United FC (2001-2003); Niger Tornadoes FC of Minna (2003-2008)”
About 1 ½ years ago, Kwara United FC had a different official homepage and the date of birth of Daniel was given to 20.03.1986. The same date of birth is found on this webpage:
According to my own records of Philemon Daniel, he was part of the Niger Tornadoes FC team as early as 2004. The following is quoted from the following article from AllAfrica, dated 02.05.2005:
“Thereafter it was a balanced affair by both teams as Gateway brought in the pair of Henry Osadolor and Ibrahim Ajani to light up their attack while Tornadoes, intent on avoiding another away defeat, substituted Solomon James with Philemon Daniel while Philip Auta replaced Shedrack Chuba.”
Based on the above, I cannot possibly believe that Philemon Daniel is born on or after 01.01.1991. It does not seem likely at all that a 12 year old plays in the Nigeria Premier League in 2005.
ABDUL AJAGUN – DOLPHINS FC
Ajagun is a brilliant attacker / winger at Dolphins FC and a former star of the Nigeria U-17 national football team. Ajagun is born 10.02.1993 and should become a key performer in the tournament. The date of birth is FIFA-confirmed and should be correct.
UCHE NWOFOR – ENUGU RANGERS FC
Nwofor is the star striker at Enugu Rangers FC. Nwofor, sometimes referred to as Nwafor, is a powerfully-built forward with three league goals to his name in the 2010-2011 season.
Nwofor played for Anambra Pillars FC in 2009-2010 but joined Shooting Stars FC during the season. Anambra Pillars FC had a rather impressive website in 2009 and according to this page, Nwofor is born 28.02.1989. Please find the attached document:
C:UsersØivindDesktopAFRIKANSK FOTBALLAfrican leaguesAnambra Pillars.mht
Based on this information I find it hard to believe that Nwofor is born on or after 01.01.1991.
TERRY ENVOH – SHARKS FC
Envoh is a tricky attacker / winger at Sharks FC, born 12.12.1992. Envoh has not scored yet this season, despite being a regular player at Sharks. The date of birth is FIFA-confirmed and should be correct. The picture is of Terry Envoh and is taken from MTN Football.
GOMO ONDUKU – SHARKS FC
Onduku is a winger playing for Sharks FC, known for his dazzling runs down the flanks. Onduku was presented in my post from 19.03.2011.
The following is taken from the post:
“Age is always a concern in Nigerian football and little is known about Onduku’s career before the 2008-2009 season. However, it is a fact that Onduku was part of the Bayelsa United FC squad for the 2005 Norway Cup, one of the largest youth football tournaments in the world. Bayelsa United FC participated in the so-called “Class A”, which was for boys “born after 01.01.1986 and later”, basically boys who were 17, 18 or 19 years old at the time of the tournament (August 2005). Onduku was interviewed by a Norwegian newspaper during the tournament and stated that his hero as a football player was John Obi Mikel, currently of Chelsea FC(England). A player who is part of the current Nigeria U-20 national football team will most likely be born in 1991 or 1992. It seems questionable that Bayelsa United FC would include a 13 or 14 year old boy in their “Class A” team for the 2005 Norway Cup, but it is certainly not impossible. I have personally always thought Onduku was born in 1988 based on his Norway Cup appearance but this is just a theory and could very well be wrong.”
Unfortunately, I find it hard to believe that Onduku is born on or after 01.01.1991.
Based on the above, I fear that the Nigeria U-20 national football team could get into problems for age-cheating. It seems unlikely that Mackson Ojobo, Chidi Osuchukwu, Philemon Daniel, Uche Nwofor and Gomo Onduku are born on or after 01.01.1991.
I personally have a strong problem with age-cheating as it is highly unfair to struggling players who are honest about their age. Football is often a way out of poverty and it is not fair that a player who is 25 years old should take the place of a promising 18 year old player for such an event as the Orange African Youth Championship in South Africa.
Culled from www.westafricanfootball.com