Head Coach Paul Aigbogun has assured that his Nigeria U20 squad will go for nothing less than outright victory when they confront tournament host Niger Republic in their final group phase at the Africa U20 Cup of Nations today.
Aigbogun, alongside assistants Abdu Maikaba, Hassan Abdallah and Suleiman Shuaibu, took the seven –time African champions through their last training session before the game on Thursday evening, at the National Technical Centre, Niamey, and told thenff.com that focus would be on scoring the goals that would earn Nigeria a FIFA U20 World Cup ticket.
“This is our most important match of the tournament so far. There would be no looking back. We are playing the host team but our minds are made up to go all out. Only a win can guarantee us a place in Poland.
“Of course, we noticed a few things in the first two matches we played. The corrections we have made would help us greatly in Friday’s match.”
The Flying Eagles have to be at their very best against a home team that requires an outright victory as well to be in with a chance of qualification, as they trail Nigeria by two points and are level with South Africa.
Needing the minimum win possible to snatch a World Cup ticket early when they took on South Africa on Tuesday, Aigbogun’s wards made hard work of it, with the match ending 0-0, rather handing the Amajita a chance to remain in the tournament if they overpower Burundi in Maradi tomorrow.
Thursday’s training session was high on ball work and diligence.
Goalkeeper Olawale Oremade is likely to keep his place between the sticks, as defenders Mike Zaruma, Ikouwem Utin, Igoh Ogbu and Valentine Ozornwafor. Their alliance is still unbreached in the championship. Jamil Muhammad and Afeez Aremu could remain in the midfield with Alhassan Adamu in front of them, though Aigbogun may tinker with the strike force, with Ibrahim Abubakar, Aliyu Ibrahim, Nazifi Yahaya, Effiom Maxwell, Adeshina Gata and Sweden –based Onyekachi Paschal all in good shape.