Abuja – A former U-17 goalkeeper, Dele Alampasu, joined the Flying Eagles’ camp on Friday in Abuja after signing a deal with Estori Praia FC of Portugal last week for an undisclosed sum.
Assistant Coach of the U-20 side Nduka Ugbade said that Alampasu teamed up with the Flying Eagles, shortly after signing a deal with the Portuguese top club.
Alampasu, who was voted best goalkeeper at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), had been tipped to join teams in Belgium and Spain but no deal was sealed.
Ugbade had earlier expressed fears that the first choice goalkeeper could miss out of the Africa Youth Championship (AYC), if he failed to join the team as soon as possible.
With second choice, Anthony Enaholo, proving to be a capable replacement, Ugbade had admitted that the highly rated Alampasu was at the brink of missing out of the tournament.
Alampasu, who turned 18 in December, performed excellently when Nigeria won its fourth FIFA U-17 World Cup two years ago in UAE.
He had however, been in and out of the team as he sought to sign a professional contract abroad.
“We are happy that a deal has finally been reached for his signature after undergoing several trials abroad and hopefully, this should be a sign of better things to come for him in his career.
“We wish him well and we are glad that all the distraction about his club future has now been sorted out and now, he can concentrate on being a part and parcel of the U-20 team ,’’ Ugbade said.
Alampasu thus joins many of his team-mates from the U-17 team, including Kelechi Iheanacho, Isaac Success, Musa Yahaya, Chidera Ezeh, Chidiebere Nwakali, Taiwo Awoniyi and Aliyu Abubakar, who have moved to Europe.
The Flying Eagles are scheduled to play two friendly matches against the U-20 team of Ghana this month.
The Ghanaians are also preparing for the AYC and they are grouped with South Africa, Mali and Zambia in group B.
Nigeria, who have won the tournament a record six times, are grouped alongside Senegal, Congo and Ivory Coast in group A.
The 2015 AYC, which is the 20th edition, is scheduled for March in Senegal.
The semi-finalists will automatically qualify for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will take place in New Zealand from May 20 to June 30.