Huesca of Spain midfielder, Kelechi Nwakali is exuding confidence on his arrival at the undsr-23 national team, Olympic Eagles’ camp in Abuja, as the former Golden Eaglets and ex-Flying Eagles skipper believes the squad being handled by Imama Amapakabo is fired up to confront the rest of Africa in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualification championship, megasportsarena.com reports.
Nwakali is the first foreign-based star to hit the Olympic Eagles’ camp, as they intensify the last lap of preparations for next month’s Africa U-23 Cup of Nations in Egypt and, though he is facing a tough time putting his club career back on track, the youngster is beaming with enthusiasm.
He is yet to find his feet at Huesca, following his summer arrival from Arsenal of England, who loaned him to MVV Maastricht and VVV Venlo of Holland as well as FC Porto while his contract ran at Emirates Stadium, but the Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup-winning captain is not allowing his struggles affect him, as he settles down to training ahead of the 3rd U23 AFCON.
The Diamond and ASJ Academy of Umuahia product, who won named most valuable player at Chile 2015 and the following year was promoted to the under-20 national team, Flying Eagles squad that failed to qualify for the 2017 U20 World Cup, will now hope to make better marks in green-and-white, with a view to seeing it rub off on his fortunes at club level.
Nwakali was among the players that took part in Thursday morning’s session at the training pitch of Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, under the supervision of Amapakabo and his fellow-coaches in the Olympic Eagles’ technical crew.
The youthful midfielder, who is the team’s assistant captain and played an integral part in seeing them scale through the qualifiers, with comeback victories against Libya and Sudan to book a slot at Egypt 2019, is now excitedly looking ahead to the opening group game against Cote d’Ivoire on 9th November, before taking on Zambia on the 12th and South Africa on the 15th, all three billed to hold at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo.
Nigeria are the defending champions of this competition, this year’s edition of which will run from 8th to 22nd November, with the winners, runners-up and third placed teams qualifying to represent Africa at next year’s Olympic Games’ men’s football tournament in Tokyo, Japan.