Posted: May 07, 2011
Despite being wracked by fatigue and jet lag, the National U-20 men’s team, Flying Eagles kept its winning by defeating host Korea Republic 1-0 at the beginning of the Suwon U-20 Invitational Tournament on Thursday.
The tournament in Korea Republic’s second city is being attended by four countries that have qualified for the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup that is to be staged in Colombia, 29th July – 20th August.
Defender Gbenga Arokoyo scored from a corner kick in the 76th minute of a highly competitive game inside the Suwon World Cup Stadium, and the hosts could not find a way round the brilliant goalkeeper Danjuma Paul.
Also on Thursday, New Zealand lost 0-1 to Uruguay in the other match of the day at the invitational.
Korea Republic will play in Group A of the FIFA U-20 World Cup alongside hosts Colombia, France and Mali. Uruguay, who trade tackles with the new African champions on Sunday at the same venue, will play in Group B of the tournament alongside Portugal, Cameroon and New Zealand, who make up the number in Suwon.
New Zealand, which ensured qualification for Colombia two days after the Draw was held in Cartagena, will be the last to face the firepower of the Flying Eagles on Tuesday next week.
Nigeria play Croatia, Saudi Arabia and Guatemala in Group D at the World Cup.
The Flying Eagles overcame several hurdles to lift their sixth African title in South Africa, including having to prosecute the tournament with 18 players after two were dropped for technical reasons and Holland-based Ahmed Musa could only play the opening match against Ghana.
After arriving in Lagos on Monday afternoon, the team had to travel to Korea aboard Emirates Airline the following, with even three players less. Striker Stanley Okoro had to head to Spain to join his club, Almeria, same as defender Terna Suswam who was on the plane to Portugal to return to Vitoria Setubal.
Defender Chima Oluocha lost his father on the day of the final match against Cameroon in Johannesburg and was released to go for the burial rites