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The star of the hosts and defending champions of the Under-17 World Cup has said the expectations are getting higher...

Nigeria Under-17 striker Stanley Okoro has admitted that expectations on the team to host and win the FIFA Under-17 World Cup have been very daunting.

"It is a very daunting task [to win the competition] and this is even more so with recent results of the other national teams, the Super Eagles and the Under-20 team," said the Heartland FC forward, who is nicknamed 'Little Messi' after the Argentine superstar.

"All the same, I wish to use this tournament to make a name for myself."

Okoro, 16, is a left-footed winger who is often played on the right flank. He is fast and blessed with a good dribble.

He is the most experienced player in the Nigerian squad having featured for Heartland in both the Premier League and the CAF Champions League, where the Owerri outfit have reached this year's final.

He has proved his class with goals during the team's pre-tournament matches in Qatar, Ghana and the Gambia.

This tournament has already produced several Nigerian players like Victor Ikpeba, Nwankwo Kanu, Celestine Babayaro and Wilson Oruma, who have gone on to establish themselves at full international level.

Coach John Obuh told Goal.com that he would have done a great job if some of the boys in this team go on to star for the full international team as well.

"If I could have five to 10 players from this team in the senior national team in the next five years, then I’ll be a fulfilled man," said Obuh, who helped Kwara United win promotion back to the Nigerian top flight last season.

Nigeria open the tournament on Saturday against Germany, the team they defeated 2-0, twenty-four years ago in China to win the first of their three U-17 World Cups.

Samm Audu, Goal.com

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