Nigeria’s U-20 national team, Flying Eagles opened camp Monday in Abuja with two invited overseas-based players in attendance in training at the Moshood Abiola national stadium Goal Project even as coach Ladan Bosso targets picking one of the World Cup tickets at the upcoming 2023 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The 2023 U-23 AFCON will hold in Egypt from February 19 until March 11. The tournament also serves as the African qualifiers for the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup to be hosted by Indonesia.
Bosso told Completesports.com in an interview after training that being in a very tough Group A of the U-20 AFCON 2023 does not bother him because according to him, one must beat the best to be champion. Nigeria is in the same group as Senegal, Mozambique and host Egypt.
“I have unfinished business at the Under-20 World Cup and I want to return to do what I could not do when I took Flying Eagles to Chile in 2007,” Bosso told Completesports.com in Abuja.
“So many things happened, then but I am now much wiser, experienced and ready to give it a big go. I will target reaching the medals stage and see how it goes, but first, we must qualify for the World Cup.
“We are no longer screening players for AFCON, that is why we reinvited the 35 players selected from the last camping late last year. The idea is to blend them very well and see if the new invitees and the foreign-based ones can break into the team.
“No foreign-based player who failed to join us here will be allowed during the training tour. Every player must prove himself before we leave this country, ” Bosso stated.
Asked why he invited overseas-based players despite all the local talents at his disposal, Bosso said that as Nigerians, they are equally qualified to be part of the national team, but they must prove themselves to be part of the World Cup squad.
On Nigeria being drawn in the ‘group of death’, Bosso laughed it off saying, “it’s a tough group truly but we shall be ready for the task. Senegal will be the most difficult match of the group because we don’t know much about them and I doubt if they know us at all.
“Winning our opening game against Senegal will go a long in boosting our qualification, we must go all out for a win.”
Bosso added: “We won the WAFU qualifiers in Niger Republic and it’s my wish that we go to the World Cup in Indonesia as the champions of Africa. That aside, I want to make amends for the 2007 not-pleasant performance of the Flying Eagles. I want to improve on it by going all the way ”