U-23 AFCON: Benin call-up thrills Nigeria-born Godwin


Benin Republic have called-up Nigeria-born forward, Godwin Akpo, for their 2023 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifying fixture against Sudan this month, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Our correspondent learnt that former Super Eagles assistant coach, Valere Houdonou, lured the Nigerian striker to Benin Republic, where he later acquired that country’s passport.

The 22-year-old plays for Jeunese Sportive d’Aonlin, a topflight division in Benin Republic, starred on loan at Wikki Tourists in the Nigerian Professional Football League.

Benin Republic will face Sudan in Omdurman October 20 for the first leg of their qualifiers, before returning home for the second leg a week later.

“I feel good being called up to the Benin national team. It’s the dream of every player to represent his country and play on the big stage and I’m happy for the opportunity,” Akpo said.

“Our target is to beat Sudan and later qualify for the U-23 African Cup of Nations in Morocco.

“Of course, the Olympic Games is the ultimate target, but it’s one step at a time.”

Africa’s representatives at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games will emerge at the 2023 U-23 AFCON in Morocco.

The Nigeria-born Benin U-23 international started his playing career with Weekend Soccer Academy, then coached by Paul Hamilton.

He also underwent trials in Cyprus, Sudan and Iran.