Nigeria’s men’s national Under-17 team; the Golden Eaglets will face hosts Niger in Wednesday’s second semi-final game of the West African Zone B qualifying tournament for the 2019 Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations, going on in Niger.
The Eaglets overcame a loss in their opening game to thrash Coted’voire and were assured of the leadership spot in group B after the Ivorians beat Burkina Faso in the final group game on Sunday.
Wednesday’s semi final matches will hold at the Stade Municipal in the Nigerien capital, Niamey with Nigeria’s clash with Niger coming in the evening after Ghana would have faced neighbours Coted’voire in the opening match of the day.
Nigeria, coached by Manu Garba – winning coach of the Under-17 team in 2013 – have no injury worries and just like their opponents are well rested after playing their last group game just under a week ago.
“This (Nigerian) team you’re seeing is barely three months old. This is the first time they are entering flight in their lives. The first game against Burkina Faso was their first international game that’s why you saw a little bit of stage fright that day.
“After the first match, they became better a lot because that fear has been removed a lot. The Nigerian team is a team that will get better match by match and our game will make Nigeriens cheer Nigeria and boo their own team,” Manu Garba said at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
Beninoise Houngnadande Djindo has been named the centre referee for the encounter. He will be assisted by Jawo Abdul Aziz Bollel (The Gambia) and Sandy Musa Alieu (Sierra Leone) as the Assistant Referees 1 and 2 respectively.
The Nigeriens will be going into the game with no goal from their previous two games in the group stage while Nigeria scored seven goals in their two group games, conceding four.
The Nigeria vs Niger game has been scheduled to kickoff at 1900hrs local time but subject to thirty minutes delay in kickoff if the first semi final match gets into kicks from the penalty mark to determine the winner.
Only the winner of the zone will advance to next year’s Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations to be staged in Tanzania.