The Nigeria national Under-20 football team, the Flying Eagles, had a decent outing in the year under review.
The Flying Eagles qualified for the 2023 FIFA Under 20 World Cup after coming third at the U23 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Ladan Bosso’s men emerged as WAFU champions last year to book their place at the continental showpiece in Egypt.
Despite Nigeria’s huge success in the competition on the African scene, many did not tip them as favourites but the side did well enough to qualify for the global event in
At the World Cup in Argentina, Nigeria did well to make Nigerians proud as they were only minutes away from reaching the last four.
In this piece, we will look at the fixtures and results of the Nigeria Under 20 team in 2023 and assess how they fared.
Nigeria national Under-20 football team fixtures – Pre-CAF Nations Cup qualification
The Flying Eagles started the journey in 2022 when the qualifying tournaments were taking place in the regions.
The competitions were used to produce representatives from each zone before they all battled it out for the tickets to the World Cup at the continental showpiece proper.
In May 2022, they started their march to qualify for the FIFA World Cup with several competitive matches in WAFU Zone B.
The Flying Eagles found themselves in the West B Zone (WAFU-UFOA B) group, where seven countries, including Nigeria, rivals Ghana, and Ivory Coast were to slug it out for just two spots in the AFCON.
The tournament took place in Niger and Ladan Bosso’s side finished as Group B winners thanks to a 2-0 victory over Ghana and a 2-2 draw with Burkina Faso.
The Flying Eagles clashed with Cote d’Ivoire – who finished as Group A runners-up – for the ticket to the AFCON in Egypt.
Goals from Daniel Daga and Ibrahim Yahaya helped the Flying Eagles overcome the Junior Elephants after extra time inside Stade General Seyni Kountche, Niamey.
The win secured the Flying Eagles’ ticket to the AFCON finals in Egypt.
Nigeria Under-20 2023 fixtures
Having booked their spot in the 2023 event, Flying Eagles found themselves in Group A alongside title favourites Senegal, hosts Egypt, and Mozambique.
The Flying Eagles started their campaign with a tie against Senegal and they lost 1-0. In their second group game, they stepped things up to beat Egypt 1-0 on February 22 before beating Mozambique 2-0 in the final group game three days later to book their place in the quarter-finals.
Ladan Bosso’s side continued with their resolute defending to keep a third consecutive clean sheet and beat Uganda 1-0 to reach the last four.
In the semi-finals, the Flying Eagles lost 1-0 to The Gambia but it would not matter as they had already picked one of the four World Cup slots before beating Tunisia 4-0 in the third-place match to finish on a high.
The FIFA U-20 World Cup – Argentina 2023
The Nigerian side took part in the World Cup event staged in Argentina and they gave a good account of themselves.
Champions Senegal, Nigeria, The Gambia, and Tunisia were Africa’s representatives at the U20 World Cup
Nigeria opened their campaign with a 2-1 win over Dominican Republic. The Flying Eagles came from a goal down courtesy of goals from Guillermo De Rena (own goal) and a smart finish by Samson Lawal.
In a top and clinical performance, the Flying Eagles defeated Italy 2-0 to book their spot in the second round. Salem Fago and Jude Sunday scored their first goals at the World Cup to help Ladan Bosso’s side march on.
In the final group game, the Flying Eagles lost 2-0 to Brazil before beating hosts Argentina 2-0 to reach the quarter-finals where they eventually lost to South Korea after extra-time.
After the end of the World Cup, a number of the Flying Eagles players have moved on to sign professional contracts.
Defender Solomon Agbalaka joined FC Sochi from Broad City, Benjamin Fredrick also joined Brentford Academy and Daniel Daga signed with Nigerian champions Enyimba from FC One Rocket.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago