Building An U20 Team: Insights On How Nigeria’s Dysfunctional System Produces World-beaters


The Coach Ladan Bosso led national U20 crew have released the official 28 man list for the WAFU B AFCON qualifiers.

The U20 AFCON qualifiers for WAFU B will hold in the Niger Republic.

The list is out, but what goes into building An U20 team without the famous MRI checks? takes you through the process.

Building An U20 team:  Flying Eagles crew

Building An U20 team: A Design By Error

Firstly, for all the talks about age cheats, the Nigerian football federation uses conventional and unconventional means to check the ages of prospects.

Currently, Nigeria runs a system so disorganized it is now a pattern.

The error by design has continued to give different results over the years.

Like a faulty wall clock, the country gets it right once or twice with a generation of talents.

The 2013 and 2015 U17 and U20 squads provide the backdrop of the super eagles except for integrated foreign players of Nigerian descent.

Flying Eagles U20 team

The process starts with the coach moving around the country, watching players across the leagues.
From NLO to NNL and the NPFL, coach Bosso identifies players that may fit into the age-grade.

From the scouting trip comes the hard work of building a U20 team to be submitted to the federation.

There’s also a matter of open screening opportunities to cater for the interest of a football-mad country like Nigeria.

Intermediaries, football academies and others hawk their young and talented players to the camp.

Such trips built on belief, luck and faith come from the pocket of their sponsors with the hope of doing enough to get in.

Building An U20 Team

Expectedly the young and established players from the leagues Should form the nucleus, but according to an inside source, football happens to these players.

From talents melting under pressure to document discrepancies, the coaching crew faces a total breakdown of plans that hitherto look solid.

The standard procedures.

The process starts with players submitting their passports. The age goes through verification from documents with league bodies.

The next step is to check the age on the FIFA Transfer Monitoring System, TMS.

In between this process is where ages go through a proper check for confirmation.
That’s easy, right? No. The dysfunctional Nigerian Immigration system comes to play when the federation conducts a background check to see if any player has multiple International passports.

The findings are further processed. When all seems to be going well, the elements of surprise gifted by a scorned agent sometimes attempt to derail the exercise.

A highly-rated player got dropped because his passport got stuck at a European embassy.

A common factor for Nigerian players as our players is hot in demand. According to a FIFA report, Nigeria is the sixth country with the most sort after players.

Ladan Bosso

Afterwards, the list is released to face the wrath of the Nigerian public, who uses the eye test and tales of old wives to dissect the looks and ages of the players.

Sometimes tweets and posts hit the bull’s eye but then get dismissed, deleted or die a natural death.

Players’ dishonesty, double-dealing intermediaries and an escape from poverty characterize the weapon formed against unearthing genuine young players for the national youth teams.

It’s a coach’s nightmare, even if they are sometimes active participants.

Flying Eagles U20 team
In Summary.

Forty players got an invitation from the coaching crew.

The camp was also open for players to come from home and do trials.

If you make it, you go to the camp.

There were also late invitations for some NPFL players.

Those that made the official 40-man list undergo screening before joining the team.

Some players outside the 40-man list come from recommendation, and undergo screening when they get to camp.

If they have multiple documents, they leave the camp immediately.

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