By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
Head Coach Nduka Ugbade has said that the Nigeria U-17 technical team of which he is the head, is working quietly but diligently and assiduously to raise a squad capable of doing Nigeria proud at the Africa U-17 Cup of Nations in Algeria.
Ugbade, who has assisted a couple of coaches to win the FIFA U-17 World Cup for Nigeria, is in charge this time, and has shepherd his wards to the African finals after winning the WAFU B Championship in Ghana last summer.
The Africa U-17 Cup of Nations will take place from April 29 to May 19 in Algeria, with five-time world champions, Nigeria drawn alongside Morocco, South Africa and Zambia in a potentially-explosive Group B, with venue in Constantine.
“We know that some work still has to be done within the next few weeks to put the team in great form. I am happy with the level of work we have done and the kind of playing personnel at our disposal.
“I believe everything will come together beautifully and we will have a team that will do the country proud at the tournament,” said Ugbade, who captained Nigeria’s U-16 squad to win the inaugural FIFA tourney in China 38 years ago,” he said.
A fortnight ago, the Golden Eaglets returned to camp in Abuja for the final phase of their preparations for the U-17 AFCON, and three days ago, hammered Mahanaim FC 4-2 in a friendly match at the NFF/FIFA Goal Project within the Moshood Abiola National Stadium complex.
Mahanaim stunned the Eaglets with a goal against the run of play, but the Nigerian cadets responded quickly with a well-taken free-kick to end the first half 1-1. In the second half, the Eaglets dominated with three more goals while Mahanaim was only able to score once.
The Eaglets will have a final camping programme in Europe before flying to Algeria for the continental finals, where the four top-placed teams will qualify to represent Africa at this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru.