The Flying Eagles begin their hunt for a first U-20 World Cup trophy when they face the Dominican Republic in their opening fixture at the 2023 edition of the tournament.
Nigeria have reached the final of the age-grade competition twice – in 1989 and 2005 – and will be aiming to take it a step further when Sunday’s clash begins at the Estadio Malvinas Argentina in Mendoza.
En route to the championship, Nigeria finished third at the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations and are among four teams to represent the continent in the South American nation.
A ‘Winning Mentality’
The Africans are favourite against Walter Benítez’s side and know that a win over them will place Nigeria in good stead to qualify from a Group D that includes Brazil and Italy.
Although Nigeria have played 13 times in the competition against their rivals who are making their debut, Coach Ladan Bosso admits that the clash won’t be an easy game. He, however, believes the pre-tournament matches have infused confidence in the squad.
“As I stated earlier, we are happy with the results from the two friendly matches we played in Buenos Aires,” the NFF quoted him as saying.
“We won one against an Argentina club and then drew with the Colombia U20 team that’s also taking part in this tournament. Those are not bad results.
“More than anything else, what the results have done is give us confidence that we can get the job done. Victory over the Dominican Republic on Sunday will stabilise our winning mentality.
“It is a factor that matters in championships and that is why we are determined to win on Sunday.”
It's go time! 🇳🇬 🦅
— The NFF 🇳🇬 (@thenff) May 21, 2023
Italy-based Victor Eletu, who later teamed up with the squad, is expected to provide much-needed depth to the Flying Eagles’ side.
Nigeria is likely to parade the Chijioke Aniagbosos in goal with Daniel Bameyi, Abel Ogwuche, Benjamin Frederick, and Solomon Agbalaka at the back.
Ibrahim Muhammad, Samson Lawal, and Jude Sunday are expected to be picked for the fixture.
Time for Nigeria vs Dominican Republic U-20 Match
Nigeria’s game against Dominican Republic at the U-20 World Cup 2023 will begin at 7:00 pm (WAT).
After the match, the Flying Eagles’ next tie is against Italy on May 24 before they take on Brazil three days later.