By Sedara Philip
Nigeria’s U17 Boys, Golden Eaglets have not come as far as the quarter-finals of the Africa U17 Cup of Nations to be dumped out of the competition without earning a World Cup ticket, says Head Coach Nduka Ugbade.
The Golden Eaglets and their officials arrived in Algiers, the capital city of Algeria on Monday, three days ahead of their quarter-final clash with Burkina Faso’s Young Etalons at the Nelson Mandela Stadium.
“We had an interesting match with South Africa and it has prepared us well for further challenges in the competition. We learnt a lot playing Zambia, Morocco and South Africa – all strong teams – in the group phase and that was good furnace for us to be a better squad.
“The quarter-final matches will be very hard nuts to crack because that is the step that earns you the World Cup ticket. None of the four games will be easy. Our interest is Burkina Faso and we are working hard towards achieving success.”
Burkina Faso had an interesting last match of the group phase, coming from behind to defeat and dump out Cup holders Cameroon 2-1 in a truly fascinating encounter.
Nigeria also came from behind twice to edge South Africa 3-2 in a memorable encounter in Constantine, with the five goals scored by different players on the night.
Ugbade added: “We have not come this far to drop out. My boys are focused hard on the World Cup ticket. After that, we can then focus on other objectives.”
The match between Nigeria and Burkina Faso begins at 8pm on Thursday.
Victory over the Young Etalons will earn Nigeria the opportunity to go for a record-extending sixth FIFA U17 World Cup title.