In order to build a team that will represent Nigeria honorably at the Africa U17 Cup of Nations in Algeria, head coach Nduka Ugbade claims the Nigeria U17 technical team, of which he is the leader, is working quietly but diligently and assiduously.
The WAFU B Championship was won by Ugbade’s team in Ghana last summer, and he has helped a few coaches lead Nigeria to FIFA U17 World Cup victories. This time around, he is in control, and he has guided his team to the African finals.
The Africa U17 Cup of Nations will be held in Algeria from April 29 through May 19; a possibly explosive Group B has been drawn, featuring five-time world champions Nigeria alongside South Africa, Zambia, Morocco, and Morocco. The tournament will be held in Constantine.
“We know that some work still has to be done within the next few weeks to put the team in great form. I am happy with the level of work we have done and the kind of playing personnel at our disposal.
“I believe everything will come together beautifully and we will have a team that will do the country proud at the tournament,” said Ugbade, who captained Nigeria’s U16 squad to win the inaugural FIFA tourney in China 38 years ago.
A fortnight ago, the Golden Eaglets returned to camp in Abuja for the final phase of their preparations for the U17 AFCON, and three days ago, hammered Mahanaim FC 4-2 in a friendly match at the NFF/FIFA Goal Project within the Moshood Abiola National Stadium complex.
Mahanaim stunned the Eaglets with a goal against the run of play, but the Nigerian cadets responded quickly with a well-taken free-kick to end the first half 1-1. In the second half, the Eaglets dominated with three more goals while Mahanaim was only able to score once.
The Eaglets will have a final camping programme in Europe before flying to Algeria for the continental finals, where the four top-placed teams will qualify to represent Africa at this year’s FIFA U17 World Cup in Peru.