Nigeria’s Flying Eagles will be seeking to emulate reigning African champions, the Super Eagles, when the African Youth Championship kicks off tomorrow in Algeria.
The Flying Eagles are the defending champions of the tournament and will court the attention of all teams, who will be desperate to dethrone them when the final match is played on March 30 in Oran.
For the Coach John Obuh-tinkered side, the journey to a successful title defence begins this Sunday against Mali in Oran. It is Group B match. Other teams in the pool are the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon.
The Nigerians are favoured to win given their strong pedigree in the competition but against the Junior Eagles of Mali, they will face a side also reputed for their prowess at this cadre of football. It holds all the trappings of a good match to watch and a victory for either side will to some extent show how far both teams will go in this year’s adventure in Morocco.
Coach Obuh will be counting on the likes of Samuel Okani,Aigbe Oliha, Mohamed Aliyu, Abdullah Shehu, Chizoba Amaefule, Ikechukeu Okorie, Aminu Umar, Maduabuchi Ejike, Olarenwaju Kayode, Abduleleel Ajagun, Salisu Gero, Ovbokha Yero, Kingsley Madu, Christian Pyagbara, Moses Orkuma, Jonah Usman, Chidi Osuchukwu, Edafe Egbedi, Uche Agbo, Abubakar Hassan and Emmanuel Daniel to propel Nigeria to glory.
With a solid World Cup experience under his belt, Coach Obuh is expected to prosecute a near-flawless AFY campaign for Nigerians, who are suddenly; feeling that the good times are indeed back again for the football.
Their belief is further fuelled by the fact that the Flying Eagles have won the two out of the last four AYC tournaments.
In 2011, they defeated Cameroon 3-2 in the finals while in the 2005 final, they were 2-0 better against Egypt.
In other matches holding this weekend, hosts Algeria take on Republic of Benin, Ghana battle Egypt while the Democratic Republic of Congo confront Gabon.
No Team /Results Group Date
1 Algeria V Benin A 16/03/2013
2 Ghana V Egypt A 16/03/2013
3 Nigeria V Mali B 17/03/2013
4 RD Congo V Gabon B 17/03/2013
5 Benin V Ghana A 19/03/2013
6 Egypt V Algeria A 19/03/2013
7 Mali V RDCongo B 20/03/2013
8 Gabon V Nigeria B 20/03/2013
9 Algeria V Ghana A 22/03/2013
10 Benin V Egypt A 22/03/2013
11 Nigeria V RDCongo B 23/03/2013
12 Mali V Gabon B 23/03/2013
13 1st Group A V 2nd Group B 26/03/2013
14 1st Group B V 2nd Group A 26/03/2013
3rd Place match
15 Loser: 13 v Loser: 14 29/03/2013
16 Winner 13 V Winner 14 30/03/2013