Apparently basking in the euphoria of the superlative performance of the national U-20 team, the Flying Eagles at the just ended Super 6 invitational tournament in Abuja, assistant coach of the team, Nduka Ugbade has boasted that the team will not be going to the forthcoming African Youth Championship (AYC) in Senegal just to complete the number, but to fight for the trophy.
Ugbade told journalists in Abuja that the Flying Eagles who won the Super 6 after defeating league champions, Kano Pillars, confederations cup holders, Enyimba International of Aba, Warri Wolves FC and Dolphins FC of Port Harcourt and pulling a draw against the national U-23 team; the Dream Team are mentally prepared for the task ahead.
According to him, the team which is about 40% ready for the championship will be about 70% prepared before the AYC, a situation he said will be good enough for the team to be in contention for the trophy as well as finish among the best four so as to qualify for the World Youth Championship (WYC) to be staged later in the year.
“A lot of football education will be given to these lads and you know that it is the level of education that you have that will help you to excel in whatever you do,” he said, adding, “we have used this tournament to discover some areas where we need to fine-tune and I am optimistic that by the time we go to Senegal; the team will be ready to take on anyone.
“The Chief Coach is doing everything to shape the team for the tournament and for him the team is about 40% prepared before coming into this tournament and by the first week of March, we will arrive at 70% and we will be ready for the competition, we will not only be participating in the competition but we will be contending seriously for the trophy.”.
The former international assured that despite the fact that Nigeria’s first game at the championship will be against the host nation Senegal, the players will not allow themselves to be intimidated by the crowd which added will be partisan. He however added that if the large Nigerian community in the country turns out in their numbers to support the Flying Eagles, the impact of the expected home advantage will not be much.