Nigeria’s men’s national U17 side, the Golden Eaglets will begin their campaign at the 2019 U17 AFCON on Sunday in Dar es Salam, Tanzania. The Eaglets, coached by Manu Garba will be hoping to land a third continental title at the competition.
The Eaglets will face host nation Tanzania in the opening game of the U17 AFCON at 4pm local time (2pm in Nigeria) at the National Stadium in Tanzania as they campaign in hope of adding to titles won in 2001 in Seychelles and 2007 in Togo.
After their failure to qualify for the African championship two years ago in Gabon, the Nigerian lads won the WAFU B qualification zone to qualify for this year’s edition in a painstaking fashion.
Team’s head coach Garba, who was also head coach when the country finished second in the 2013 tournament in Morocco before brilliantly landing the World championships in the United Arab Emirates hopes to win this time while banking on mother luck.
“Every tournament is hard to win,” the 55-year-old Garba who was assistant coach when Nigeria won the tournament in 2007 told CAFOnline.com
“No matter how good a team is, sometimes you need elements of luck to win the trophy.
“Our objective first and foremost would be qualification for the World Cup by reaching the semi-finals and, thereafter, we can focus our attention on winning the trophy for the third time for Nigeria,” he noted.
It was reported that a few of Nigeria’s key names were again lost to the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tests prior to the competition but the likes of strikers Divine Nwachukwu, Olakunle Olusegun and playmaker Akinkunmi Amoo – the latter duo are products of the 2017 NPFL/LaLiga Under-15 Promises – are in the team to Tanzania.
Manu Garba is assisted, once again by former Super Eagles star Nduka Ugbade. The four semi finalists in the 8-nation tournament will represent Africa at the 2019 World Under-17 championship to be hosted by Brazil later in the year.
Nigeria’s group fixtures
Sunday April 14, 2019 – Tanzania vs Nigeria – Dar es Salam
Wednesday April 17, 2019 – Nigeria vs Angola – Dar es Salam
Saturday April 20, 2019 – Nigeria vs Uganda – Mbagala