The national U-20 men’s team, Flying Eagles have been grouped into what is perhaps the toughest group at the 2011 African Youth Championship taking place in Libya.
At the Draw Ceremony held in the Radisson Blue Hotel, Tripoli by noon on Tuesday, Nigeria fell into Group B alongside Ghana, Cameroon and Gambia.
The four countries competing in this pool have all won the competition at one time or the other since it became a tournament in 1991, though Nigeria won four times consecutively between 1983 and 1989 when the two teams representing Africa at the World Youth Championship clashed on home-and-away basis to determine the champion.
Cameroon’s Lionceux, Ghana’s Black Satellites and Gambia’s Young Scorpions are among the most feared youth national teams on the continent.
Cameroon won the event when Nigeria hosted in 1995, Ghana hosted and took the title in 1999, beating Nigeria in the final and Gambia were victorious at home in 2005.
Apart from winning the tournament in Cotonou, Benin Republic in 2005 and reaching the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in the Netherlands the same year, the Flying Eagles also reached the competition final in Brazzaville in 2007.
Ghana’s Black Satellites are the reigning champions of the world, following a spectacular run in the FIFA U-20 World Cup staged in Egypt between September and October 2009.
Hosts Libya, Mali, Egypt and Lesotho will play in Group A of the competition taking place in Libya March 18 – April 1.
Nigeria was represented at the Draw Ceremony by the Deputy General Secretary (Technical), Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme and U-20 Head Coach Sam John Obuh.