By: Adeyinka Adedipe
THE Flying Eagles will depart for South Africa today for the African Youth Championship (AYC) slated for Johannesburg from this Sunday to May 3 with the hope of winning the trophy.
The Nigerian team will be hoping to qualify for the semi-final from Group B, which comprises world champion, Ghana, Cameroun and Gambia. The young Nigerians open their campaign against West African rival, Ghana, at the Rand Stadium in Johannesburg on Monday.
Preparatory to the tournament, the Nigerians played a two-legged friendly against Libya (formerly designated host), before moving over to Turkey where they played a series of friendly matches before coming back home after the competition was postponed due to the political uprising in Libya.
However, that did not deter the team from rounding off its preparation with a 3-1 victory over Nigeria Premier League side, Sharks of Port Harcourt. After failing to make an impression at the last World Youth Championship (WYC) in Egypt, coach John Obuh is confident that his current squad will conquer Africa.
Speaking before the team’s departure, Obuh assured that his wards would play as a team and not as individuals to lift the trophy. He said: “What we want to do is to play like a team in all our games because that is the only way we can win, and we intend to stick to that game plan. And with the quality of individuals in the team, I hope we will do well.”
Already, the team will be without Joel Obi just as it is not clear whether Musa Ahmed would be with the squad after being listed. It was gathered that his team, VV Venlo of Holland, was bent on holding on to its Nigerian jewel.
The Eredivise side, which is battling relegation, is hoping that Ahmed would help it avoid the drop. Meanwhile, president of the Nigeria Football Federation, Aminu Maigari, will lead the Nigerian delegation to the competition.
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