The trio of Nigeria Under-20 international forwards Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon and Isaac Success would not find it tough to adapt with the rest of the squad, despite having missed out on a training camp in Nuremberg, coach Manu Garba has assured.
Iheanacho and Success are set to be reunited with their team-mates from the Under-17 cadet following absences from a larger part of the side’s sojourn since promotion to the Flying Eagles.
The Manchester City youngster, as well as Granada CF’s Success are expected to embark on a separate journey to New Zealand for the Fifa U-20 World Cup which begins on 30 May.
Belgium-based Simon is the last of three Europe-based players who did not participate with the rest of the African champions at a training camp in Nuremberg. ‘Daddy’ as he is fondly called plies his trade at KAA Gent and was part of coach John Obuh’s team at the 2013 tournament in Turkey.
Coach Manu Garba has nonetheless argued that it would not be a difficult task for the trio to blend with the fold.
“I don’t have any fear (about blending) because these players have been with us,” the former U-17 handler said.
“Even Moses Simon was with us in the early part of the U-17 team before he went on to play for the U-20 team. He may not know the philosophy, but for Kelechi and Success, they know how we play right from the U-17s. Kelechi even played the qualifiers.
“All the same, it will not be difficult for Moses because he played in the same academy in Kaduna with Musa Yahaya and he is a striker who knows when and how to move. It will be easy for him to adapt.”
Injury prevented Iheanacho, 19, from participating with the side at the African Youth Championship in Senegal, where Nigeria claimed a record extending 7th title earlier in the year. Club commitment has not permitted Simon and Success, both also 19, time to feature more frequently on international front, while the latter has also had his own share of injury hiatus in the past months.
Manu added: “They are all coming from competitions and so you can’t fault their fitness level.
“We will sit them down to show them what we expect them to do. I believe they will adapt because they are young players and very, very intelligent.”
However, Manu is not looking to thrust any of them into a lead role right from the onset.
“We are not saying these players will come in automatically to the first team, they will be coming in gradually for them to find a synergy with the other players,” he explained.
“They will not get get into the team in the very first match, they will sit on the bench and observe and whenever we need them, they will come on and do the damage.”