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NIGERIA

Nigeria are the defending Olympic champions having won the gold medal in 1996 with a talented team including top quality players like Kanu. This team is not as strong, only just qualifying this time around. Here is some information about their better players:

 

Name : Julius Aghahowa

Position : Forward

Date of birth : 12/2/82

Team : Esperance (Tunisia)

Notes : Born in Benin. After starring for Nigeria in the World Youth Cup 1999 he moved from Insurers of Benin to Esperance of Tunisia even though top European clubs were interested. Renewed interest by European clubs is now being shown after his performances at the African Nations Cup 2000.

 

Name : Celestine Babayaro

Position : Defender

Date of birth : 29/878

Team : Chelsea (England)

Notes : Won two Belgian league championships after being a regular player for Anderlecht at the age of 16. Moved to Chelsea for 2.25m in June 1997. Was part of gold-medal winning 1996 Olympics squad. Has been involved with national team at World Cup 1998 and African Nations Cup 2000.

 

Name : Pius Ikedia

Position : Forward

Date of birth : 11/7/80

Team : Ajax (Holland)

Notes : Was the star for Nigeria in the World Youth Cup 1999 alongside Aghahowa. Was named Silver Ball as second best player in this tournament where they reached the quarter-finals. Soon after moved from ASEC Mimosas to Ajax.

 

Name : Gbenga Samuel Okunowo

Position : Defender

Date of birth : 1/3/79

Team : Benfica (Portugal)

Notes : In November 1997 joined Barcelona and played well when injuries gave him a place in the first team in 1998/99. Moved on loan to Benfica for 1999/00. Was involved in African Nations Cup 2000.

 

Name : Jero Shakpoke

Position : Defender

Date of birth : 9/12/79

Team : Lugano (Switzerland)

Notes : Was going to be in the World Cup 1998 squad but pulled out after being injured in a friendly. Used to play for Italian side Reggiana. Talented right back.

 

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