The Golden Eaglets will take on Burkina Faso in a quarter-final game at the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Thursday with an eye for a ticket to the World Cup.
Coach Nduka Ugbade’s side face their fellow West Africans in a repeat of the WAFU B championship final which the Nigerians won 2-1 last year.
Nigeria earned their place in the quarter-final tie after finishing second in Group B of the U-17 AFCON while their foes were second-placed in Group C.
While the Golden Eaglets are favourites to win the tie and seal a semi-final spot, Coach Ugbade admits that the game won’t be easy.
“My message before the match to the players is that these competitions are usually intense, and I told them we must have the will and play the match as it should, and stressed that winning makes us qualify for the World Cup,” he said in a pre-match conference, according to CAF.
The Golden Eaglets have won the U-17 World Cup five times in 12 appearances and Ugbade believes making it to the global showpiece again will be enough motivation for his side going into Thursday’s tie.
“This match will be important for us as it will qualify us for the World Cup. Burkina Faso has a really good team and we have played against them before and we experienced a very difficult match,” the coach said in a pre-game presser. “We expect it to be the same in the quarter-final.”