Nigeria’s U-20 team, the Flying Eagles are optimistic that a place at the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations, Zambia 2017 is within grasp as they confront visiting Young Falcons of Sudan at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos on Saturday.
The Emmanuel Amuneke-tutored side won the first leg in Khartoum 2-1 two weeks ago and are tipped as favourites to reach the finals coming up in Zambia next year.
Samuel Chukwueze and Victor Osimhen scored as the Flying Eagles came from behind to defeat their hosts in Khartoum, and both players are in top shape for Saturday’s clash.
Osimhen, was a record scorer at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2015, hitting 10 goals in Chile as Nigeria roared to a fifth triumph. Chukwueze’s goals also counted and he scooped the bronze boot as the third highest scorer of the tournament.
The Young Falcons have a mountain to climb against a squad that is not used to tasting defeat.
Amuneke has come to this level with the bulk of the boys who did Nigeria proud in Chile, and have maintained an unbeaten streak ever since.
President Muhammadu Buhari had congratulated the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria on their victory over Mali in the final match of the 2015 Under-17 FIFA World Cup tournament in Chile.
In a statement by Mr Femi Adesina, who is his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, President Buhari, on behalf of Nigerians and the Federal Government, applauded the “exemplary zeal, determination, commitment, hard work, patriotism and soccer artistry” which the youthful Golden Eaglets put on display throughout the tournament to win the championship for a record fifth time.
The President also noted with delight that the Golden Eaglets not only won the coveted Under-17 FIFA World Cup, but they are also bringing home highly-valued individual awards such as the Golden Boot won by Victor Osimhen for being the tournament’s highest goal scorer and the Golden Ball, won by the team captain, Kelechi Nwakali for being the best player.
President Buhari believes that by their triumph in Chile, the Golden Eaglets have shown the world that the indomitable Nigerian spirit is alive and waxing stronger.
For the President, the Golden Eaglets’ latest victory on the global stage is an affirmation of the significant progress Nigeria is now making towards positively redefining and rediscovering its potential for greatness in the comity of nations.
President Buhari trusts that if all other Nigerians could imbibe and exhibit the doggedness, determination and patriotism displayed by their youthful compatriots in Chile, Nigeria would make faster progress towards becoming the strong, united, peaceful, secure and prosperous nation envisioned by its people.
The President awaits the Golden Eaglets’ triumphant return to a heroes’ welcome from a joyous and grateful nation.
Despite Nigeria’s youngsters’ domination of the game, the Under-17 Eaglets are still finding it hard to push down the vent as Ivorian Anderson Niangbo’s scored a late goal mauled Nigeria with a shocking 1-0 defeat in the second group match of the CAF Under-17 Championship.
Passing as Eaglets first loss in both competitive and friendly games, the U-17 Eaglets will now have to wait to face Congo their final group match opponents to ensure qualification.
With an iron-clad defence, the Nigerian youngsters found it difficult to break the rank of the defence as they go from first half to the second half where the damage was done where Cote d Ivoire capitalised on Nigeria’s error to produce a goal which eventually passed as a sealer in the game.
Nigerian boys change tactics as they went on a rampageous attack in a bid to secure a goal but the tactics backfired as Côte d’Ivoire launched a long one from their end to put out a counter attack and goalkeeper Adewale was caught unaware as he calculated wrongly with the ensuing lob. Ahissan of Cote d Ivoire held on to the ball and gave Niangbo a well laid pass to latch home the only goal of the game.
Flamingoes the under 17 female team has headed for their Faro training camp where they will be for two weeks as they landed in Turkey, Istanbul and they will be expected to land Faro this evening ahead of the FIFA Women’s Under17 World Cup which begins in Azerbaijan on September 22.
The trip to Turkey was made yesterday by a 23-man contingent and they departed the Murtala Mohammed International airport around 10 pm Nigerian time yesterday and landed at Istanbul in the early hours of today.
However, on a sad note four members of the squad were stopped from proceeding with the contingent due to irregularities in their travel documents and they are midfielder, Chidinma Eze, striker, Oluchi Ofoegbu and coaches Mansur Abdullahi and Taiwo Asiwajo but we were told that they will join the rest of the team in Faro, Portugal on Thursday.
Flamingoes will be starting off their campaign by locking horns with Canada in Baku on September 22, while they will be clashing with the host country in Lakaran on September 25th after which they will meet Colombia for their final preliminary campaign in the competition in Baku on September 29th.