When the Super Eagles converge later in March for their two games during the international break against Seychelles and Egypt, they will be two first-timers in the team. Striker Paul Onuachu who plays for FC Midtjylland in Denmark and Enyimba defender Valentine Ozornworfor.

Onuachu has been one of the most consistent Nigerian players in Europe in the past three years and a call-up to the national team was duly deserved. For Ozornworfor however, this was a player who was yet to play a single game in top-flight football. 

Rohr is known not to be a huge admirer of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) and has continually refused to be forced to invite local players, even the best ones.

But this was Ozornworfor in his squad, a player who at that time had not played a single game in the NPFL. 

It was his performance at the 2019 U20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) that convinced Rohr. The left-footed defender was pleasing to watch at the tournament that held in Niger. 

He played in all Flying Eagles games in Niger, leading the defence that conceded just once, the least in the tournament. Even more eye-catching was the relative ease with which he played in most of the games. He eventually made the Best XI of the tournament.

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Valentine Ozornworfor was included in the Best XI of 2019 U20 Africa Cup of Nations (CAF)

But before the 2019 U20 AFCON, Ozornworfor had not even made his senior debut for Enyimba and his callup to the Flying Eagles was a surprise. 

But his potentials were quick to see as the tournament wore on. A defender who is quick with good technical abilities, he went on to become one of the best players of the tournament. 

His performance also vindicated Aigbogun who trusted him despite his lack of experience at the top level. 

After getting an early break at the Brown Ideye Challenge in Port Harcourt, it was Aigbogun who first spotted him in 2017 when the coach was in charge of Enyimba. 

Aigbogun watched Ozornworfor play for a local side against his Enyimba team and made sure he signed the young defender for the club. 

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Valentine Ozornworfor (middle) was a surprise in the Flying Eagles squad for the 2019 U20 AFCON but ended up being the best player in the team. (Twitter/NFF)

It’s been an incredible one year for the defender who has now gone on to make his debut for Enyimba. He played his first game for the club in their goalless draw away at Bendel Insurance

When he has managed to invite NPFL players to the national team, Rohr has never bothered about giving them game time bar Junior Lokosa and Ikechukwu Ezenwa

No one knows the fate that awaits Ozornworfor with the Super Eagles later in the month but his call-up is already a big step for him.