Nigeria put out a collection of home-based players and some Europe-based players, most of who had played for some of the junior teams.
With an average age of 22 years, the team performed creditably.
Most of the team players were meeting for the very first time and had only trained thrice together.
They, however, showed that Nigeria has a huge depth of talent with two television goals to show for their effort in the GoTVMax Cup 3-2 loss to UEFA Europa League champions, Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
The game was played at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.
|Olufemi Thomas||Enugu Rangers||28||6/10||Made some great saves to keep the Eagles in the game but was culpable for Torres’ header, which went through the goalkeeper’s arms.|
|Musa Muhamed||Lokomotiv Plovdiv||21||7/10||Good forward forays and added incision to the Eagles whenever he went forward.|
|Ebube Duru||Lobi Stars||23||6/10||Showed good positional sense and quick feet. Joined the attack at every opportunity.|
|Olamilekan Adeleye||FC Ifeanyi Ubah||22||6/10||Showed his inexperience by trying to keep moving forwards offside. Will learn from the experience|
|Chinedu Ajana||Katsina United||21||6.5/10||Was full of commitment in defensive and forward positions. Should have done better with a free header in the first half.|
|Kelechi Nwakali||MVV Maastricht||19||7.5/10||He showed his command of the ball and directed in and around him. Didn’t recall him losing the ball even in tight spaces and his goal was world class|
|Chiedebere Nwakali||Aberdeen FC||21||6.5/10||Was a bit muted in the first half but came into his own towards the end of the game after he drifted to the left flank.|
|Abdulahi Alhassan||Austria Vienna||21||5/10||Was not up to speed and looked sluggish in possession and justifiably was substituted in the first half.|
|Ekundayo Ojo||Sunshine Stars||23||5/10||Was not his usual exuberant self and got lost in midfield traffic.|
|Emem Eduok||Kasimpasa||24||4/10||He will be disappointed with his performance, which culminated in giving the ball away for Atletico’s equaliser.|
|Kadiri Samidi||Lobi Stars||22||6/10||Full of running and caused the Atletico defence some anxious moments. The chance he created for Ashadi merited a goal|
|Destiny Ashadi||Katsina United||23||6/10||Should have scored with a cut back from Ashadi, which he skied. Apart from that, he brought some deep running from midfield into action.|
|Tosin Omoyele||Plateau United||21||5/10||Was not quickly up to speed and his control left much to be desired. Had a chance late in the game to test the Atletico goalkeeper with a header but he fluffed his lines.|
|Usman Mohamed||Sarpsborg||24||6.5/10||Olympic team midfielder showed with the second goal that he may have something to offer the Eagles in future.|
|Ikouwem Utin||Enyimba FC||18||6.5/10||Came on late but still showed why he is highly regarded. If he continues to improve, he will be fighting for the Eagles’ left back position in the next 12 months.|
|Coach||Salisu Yusuf||6/10||His players, despite just three trainings showed there is great hope for football in Nigeria while his substitutions were almost all on point.|
The man of the match for the Nigerian team was definitely Kelechi Nwakali, who said it was a good game. His goal, he added, was a ‘thing of joy’.
The younger Nwakali  is a midfield general in training, as he needs to bulk up and increase his rate of releasing the ball quicker than he is managing at the moment. With him, the Eagles may have an adequate replacement for the current captain, Mikel Obi.
Thomas Partey said Atletico is growing and have a growing number of fans in Africa. He added that the philosophy of the Spanish team was not ‘underrating any team’ which showed with his rough tackles throughout the encounter.