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Nigeria Under-17 Class of 2007- Where Are They Now?





Nigeria Under-17 Class of 2007-Where are they Now??

After Nigeria’s exit at the 2019 U17 world cup, I thought about our previous sets of U17 players and their past successes. A particular set struck my mind. And I began to wonder, Nigeria U17 set of 2007, Where are they now??

They took the world by surprise, they earned the title in style, defeating Spain 3-0 on penalties in the Finals. As usual, a player from Nigeria was the top scorer. They gave Nigeria their 3rd U17 title. So I began a research, to find out where each of them are and this is what I found out.







Goal keepers

Oladele Ajiboye

You won’t talk about the 2007 championship without talking about Ajiboye. He was between the sticks for 6 games in the tournament. And in the finals he saved 3 penalties in the shootout that helped Nigeria triumph over Spain. He was called up for the U20 team in 2009, but he didn’t make any appearance.

After the tournament, with deals outside the country failing to come through, he joined Wiki Tourist in the NPFL.  He later moved to Spain and played for 3rd division team Pontevedra CF. He was released by the club in 2011. He returned home and played for Shooting Stars. Currently the 29 year old plays for Plateau United in the NPFL. 
He was in the provisional 30 man list of Grenot Rhor for the 2018 world cup. Sadly he didn’t make the final 23.

 Laide Okanlawon


He made a brief appearance for the u-20 and u-23 team. But he never made it outside Nigeria. He settled for home and played for a good number of NPFL clubs.

 Despite his pedigree, when he was at Sharks FC he was the second choice goalkeeper. And in one of the seasons he made just 3 appearances. He has since retired from football according to TranferMarket.com

Uche okafor

He currently now plays for Abia Warriors in the NPFL.


Defenders

Ganiyu Bolayi Oseni


Born in Osogbo, the defender was prolific during the u17 in South Korea, scoring once in the 6 matches he played.
 He  is currently playing for Becamex Bình Duong in the V.League 1 in Vietnam.
He also played for CSKA Moscow briefly, Esperance in Tunis and since 2011 he had been in Vietnam. In April 2011, he was called for the Nigeria U23 team. He scored two goals in their 6-1 win over Liberia. It was a qualifying match for the all African Games.

Azeez Balogun

Balogun as fondly called was also one of the pillars of the class of 2007. A great defender he was, he played 7 out of the 9 games in the tournament.
After the U17 world cup, in 2009 he moved to Portugal and played for Beleneses u19. In 2011 he played for their senior team, Beleneses SAD. He left in July 2011. We didn’t find anything about him again, till he joined MFM in Jan 2018.






 Well currently he is still at MFM football club in the Nigerian professional football league. But he has failed to establish himself as a regular starter.
The 28 year old has made just 6 appearances for MFM this year. An improvement from last year’s 4 appearances.

Kingsely Udoh


He showed his capabilities in the tournament, he could have gone to Ateletico Madrid  thereafter, but somehow the deal didn’t pull through. After undergoing trials at a couple of European clubs he stayed in Nigeria  and played for Akwa United, Heartland, Kano pillars and lastly being Sunshine Stars.
 He left Sunshine Stars in 2016. Currently he plays for AL-Naja FC in Iran.

Daniel Joshua

Hmm, we didn’t get to see if he would be the outstanding one among them, he had an accident which ended his career on his way to U20 camp in 2009. He was abandoned by the NFF, and in 2015 he came out publicly and asked for help concerning his state of health and bankruptcy. Am not sure any help came through.







Usman Amodu

The last we heard of him, he was playing for shooting stars in the 2015/2016 season. He previously played for sports light and kwara united. Nothing much has been heard of him again.

Midfielders

Rabiu Ibrahim


It could be said that he's among the most successful player in their class having played for teams like, Celtic, PSV, KAA Gent and Sporting CP. He has also made 4 appearances for the super eagles and could have been part of the 2008 AFCON, save for a groin injury.
Currently he plays for SLO.Bratisalva in Slovakia.

Lukman Haruna


He was the captain of the team and he made a few appearances for the Super Eagles and Nigeria U23 team. His story hasn’t been that bad. He has played for clubs like Monaco, Dynamo kyiv and Anzhi. In all, he wasn’t that good for a club to keep him long enough. He last played for FK Palanga and he is currently with no club.

Ademola Rafael

Last seen playing for Atlético Baleares in the 2011 season.  There after, we found no record of him.







mustapha ibrahim

He played previously for wiki tourist and  kano pillars. He is now at Enyimba Int. Ibrahim has also made 6 appearances for the Super Eagles. 


Kabiru Akinsola

well, He only played for one NPFL club, which is Sunshine Stars. but after the U17 tournament, he moved to UD Salamanca in Spain. he has played for alot of other Spanish teams since then, including Granada, Merda AD, Zamora CF.
currently he plays for Tomares in Spain

Strikers

Yakubu Alfa


He played for Aek larnaca and Helsingborg. The last we heard of him was playing for Niger Tornadoes in the NPFL. Just like Haruna, he's club-less.

Macauley Chrisantus


Christantus was the top scorer of the tournament with 7 goals. He was hot and well sort out for  thereafter.Top clubs like Arsenal and Madrid wanted him. He settled for Hamburg but didn’t quite make it to the pinnacle.

 He went out on loan to Frankfurt and was later sold by the club to UD Las Palmas. He played for quite a lot of other clubs around in Spain. Too bad for the hero, he’s now playing for Zob Ahan in Iran. He never made an appearance for the Super Eagles.








conclusion

The Average age of these players currently is 28. And at 28, they should be at their prime. When compared to players in different countries who played in the same tournament, the likes of Dea Gea, Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos and Trapp, It becomes obvious that they are all nothing to write home about.

There's a popular school of thought, that Nigeria uses overaged players for their youth tournaments, so when they are supposed to be at the peak of their Career, the players would be fading . weather true or not, the fact remains that we need to find the reason why most of our Talented young Players never make it to the top contemporary Players in the World.







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