Montreal Impact striking sensation Orji Okwonkwo is eagerly being expected at the national U-23 camp in Abuja as the Olympic Eagles brace up for the forthcoming Total U-23 Africa Cup of nations to be hosted by Egypt between November 8 and 22.
Remembered for his stunning goal in the 4-2 defeat of Mexico in the semi-finals of the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Concepcion, Orji Okwonkwo is on the exclusive list of foreign-based professionals being expected by Coach Imama Amapakabo to reinforce the squad.
Following the arrival of Spain-based midfielder, Kelechi Nwakali last week, the quartet of captain Azubuike Okechukwu and striking trio of Taiwo Awoniyi , Sunday Faleye and Okwonkwo would expectedly hit the camp ahead of the team’s departure to Cairo.
“The good news is that Orji Okwonkwo is already in Nigeria and we are expecting him in camp in order to integrate him into the team as fast as possible,” an official told NationSport yesterday.”
Meanwhile, the hope of Coach Amapakabo adding hard-fighting defender Lukman Halilu Zakari to his squad has been dashed after the former FIFA U-17 World Cup winner failed to secure the necessary travelling documents out of Spain.
The 20-year-old Zakari who recently joined Real Betis B team said he was crestfallen after he was denied the chance of teaming up with his former Golden Eaglets’ teammates.
“I was invited to the U-23 team camp in Abuja but unfortunately, I won’t be able to make the trip to Nigeria because my resident card is not ready,” hinted Zakari who moved to Betis from FK Metta in the Latvian Virsliga.
“Of course, my team tried to get me travelling document but the immigration simply refused to accept it and I was told I won’t be able to return to Spain once I leave now.
“I feel so pained that I won’t be able to come and help my country at this time but my prayers would be with the team so that they can get a ticket to Tokyo 2020 so that I can also have the chance in the future,” added Zakari who was discovered at Unity Football Club in Kaduna.