Nigeria's Golden Eaglets 2009

Alphonsus Dike, coach of the Nigerian U 17 national team, has been charged with the onerous task of assembling a crack team of the U 17 age group to represent Nigeria in the FIFA U- 17 World Championship, Nigeria 2009.

Nigeria's U 17's [The Golden Eaglets] will be attempting to successfully defend, on home soil, the trophy they won in Korea 2007.

Coach Dike travelled to Abeokuta to monitor proceedings in the recently concluded Pepsi Academy League.

The League, a Pepsi initiative, looked ahead to Nigeria 2009, when the nation has to defend the title.

In a true competitive environment, the Pepsi Academy League enabled the academy's U 17 youngsters to showcase their skills.

Over 200 Pepsi U 17 students participated.

The conclusion of the competition featured four Pepsi Academy teams comprising the best of the academy students, from the Pepsi Academy League, selected from all 14 centres across the country.

Nine outstanding players were picked as the tournaments Most Valuable Players.

All nine have been invited to the U-17 National camp.

According to Coach Dike:-

"Pepsi Academy players are very gifted and have obviously been exposed to the best of football training, disciplines and skills development techniques.

We have picked the best from the Pepsi Football Academy and they will fight for places in the squad when camping opens at the end of the month."

According to the Pepsi Football Academy Director, Kasimawo Laloko, quite a few more Pepsi Football Academy U 17's will also be requested to participate at the U 17 camp.

Coach Dike was accompanied to the Muda Lawal Abeokuta Stadium, venue of the concluding matches of the U 17 Pepsi Academy League, by his assistants: Yisa Sofoluwe, Manu Garuba and Dahiru Sadi---all former Nigerian internationalists.

May 2008