Another Nigerian star is born?

After one day of matches, the most impressive player in Canada 2007's Group F thus far was Nigerian forward Brown Ideye, who scored the winning goal in the 75th minute of a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Costa Rica and tormented the Ticos mercilessly for the full 90 minutes on Sunday.

And if the domestic-based player is to be believed, there are much bigger things on the horizon for him and his team. "Before we left Nigeria I set myself the goal to be the highest goal scorer in the tournament," he told the day after the opening victory. "I think I did an important thing by scoring the first goal for my country here, but this is just the first one. I really want to score more and more beautiful goals.

"It was good to get a victory since we have been looking forward to the tournament and working hard for the match," he said with a resolute look on his face. "Everyone wants to play well against Nigeria and show their best against us, but at the end of the day we overcame the challenge."

The sky's the limit
And while it's a bit early to say that the Ocean Boys player is set to follow in the illustrious Nigerian footsteps of players like Kanu, Okocha, Mikel and Martins, the starlet impressed from the get-go not only with his ball skills and shooting power but also his slicing runs through the Costa Rican defence. In fact, he found himself in so many good positions, one could say his only failure was that he didn't score more than once.

But, the 19-year-old with U-23 experience is well aware of the fact that he has to work his way into the elite of international football: "This is my first time coming to a championship like this, and this is a starting point for me. With more experience I will only get better. Everybody has his own or her time to shine, and I believe that the sky can be my limit."

It's a position that no-nonsense Nigerian boss Ladan Bosso agrees with, saying after the match: "We know Brown is a very powerful weapon, and I think he is important for us because he can always score goals no matter what minute it is. He gave us his best (against Costa Rica), and I appreciate him very much as a player."

And though he is based in the Nigerian first division, both the coach and the player feel like a more high-profile club future awaits. "He's never gone out for a trial even, but I think he has a big future in the game. The way he's playing now, any agent or club that sees him should be impressed and jump on him."

For his part, Ideye is dreaming big: "I would obviously like to move to a club in Europe to further my footballing career. My dream place is Chelsea, which is not really because (Jon Obi) Mikel is there. Before he even went there, I was a big supporter of them."

History in the making?
But, the player has the U-20 task at hand firmly in his sights, and him and his fellow Flying Eagles are anxious to finally lead the footballing mad nation to ultimate success in a tournament they have reached the final of twice.

"In 2005, in the final against Argentina, Nigeria had some hard luck," he said. "And I believe that the boys here are determined to reach the final and lift the trophy no matter what. That's our aim in coming here. I would be thrilled to bring the trophy home to my fellow Nigerians."

When asked if the side was still getting better, he laughed before continuing: "This is just the first game. You will see more and more surprises from us. I think with the right attitude and focus we can make history. You could see in each of our faces during the match yesterday, we want to make Nigeria proud. We were going all out."