Nigeria’s under-16 national team, the Future Eagles, are preparing to travel to Japan for a four-nation tournament starting on May 29. Head coach Haruna Ilerika has invited 25 players to join the team for the competition.

The Future Eagles will commence their training camp in Abuja on March 19 before departing for Japan via the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport a week later, as announced by the national team’s media department.

In the Dream Cup invitational, hosted by Japan, Nigeria will face off against the hosts, the Netherlands, and the United States.

All the selected players will be accommodated at the Serob Hotel in Abuja during the camp.

Coach Ilerika emphasized that the tournament’s primary focus is player development. He stated that the chosen players have the potential to progress and eventually represent Nigeria in the U17 or U20 teams.

“While every coach dreams of winning trophies and tournaments,” said the U16 coach, according to BSN Sports, “youth development is not solely about winning at this level. It is about identifying players who can excel in the future. One should approach the tournament with a mindset of defending the country and winning, giving the young players the experience of being champions and showcasing the qualities of champions to the nation.”

Coach Ilerika also noted that even if results do not go as planned, participating in the tournament can still yield positive outcomes for the team’s development