Nigeria’s U-20 squad, the Flying Eagles, will depart the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja aboard an Ethiopian Airways plane on Wednesday on their way to Khartoum for a 2017 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations qualifying match against their Sudanese counterparts, the Nigeria Football Federation have confirmed.
Coach Emmanuel Amuneke, while addressing the boys Saturday morning after their 8-0 thrashing of Oyah Sports FC of Suleja in a friendly, described the match in Sudan as ‘the mother of all battles’ and warned that the team must maintain a high level of discipline and focus to surmount this final hurdle.
“Let me first congratulate you for the performance today. I am impressed with your approach to the game from start to finish. I hope we all realise the enormity of the task ahead, as we must remain focused and disciplined to achieve our aim of picking one of the seven tickets to the continental soccer showpiece,” former Super Eagles and Barcelona star Amuneke said.
In the absence of forward Victor Osimhen who has just returned to training after injury, Orji Okonkwo has continued to fill the void, banging in two against the U-23 Eagles and three on Saturday against the Suleja-based Nationwide League side.
ABS FC of Ilorin forward Kehinde Ayinde has also discovered his scoring form. The striker scored two as the Flying Eagles thrashed Amakson Academy 4-1 on Wednesday morning and added another two on Saturday to take his tally to four in two matches.
Left-back Umar Johnson scored his first goal for the Flying Eagles and celebrated with team-mates, while second half substitutes Samuel Chukwueze and Kelechi Nwakali completed the rout to make it 8-0 in favour of the Flying Eagles.
The Flying Eagles played over twenty friendly matches since starting their camping in Abuja in April, drawing only two and losing none. The team will tackle a Sudanese side that is yet to kick a ball in the qualifiers following the withdrawal of second round opponents Malawi. The match earlier fixed for Friday, 8th July, has now been moved to Sunday, 10th July by the Sudanese Football Federation.
The Flying Eagles will take on City Strikers of Abuja on Tuesday evening at the mainbowl of the National Stadium, Abuja in their last friendly game before departing for Sudan.