A total of 18 players will be on the plane with the youth national team, Flying Eagles for Saturday’s African U20 Nations Cup first leg qualifier away to Guinea Bissau, following confirmation that the match will go ahead as planned.
Less than 24 hours after reports emerged that Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) had written to Confederation of African Football (CAF) on details for the match in Bissau, officials stated early Tuesday that the squad will now make the trip on schedule.
Consequently, the Flying Eagles, will now fly out if the country on Wednesday or Thursday after initial fears that the tiny West African nation may have pulled out of the qualifying series were put to rest.
Guinea Bissau’s FA failed to respond to various correspondences from the NFF, which led to the Nigerian officials reaching out to CAF for confirmation, and they got a response on Tuesday.
Ahead of the trip, the Flying Eagles trained on the grass pitch of Abuja National Stadium as they will play the U20 AFCON qualifier on natural grass after they have been training on the artificial pitch of the FIFA Goal Project in Abuja.
An official disclosed: “It has now been confirmed that the match will be played on Saturday in Bissau. The team will now travel either on Wednesday or Thursday.”
However, Flying Eagles assistant coach Abdul Maikaba admitted that he is worried about his team’s defense, as they prepare for the first leg of the qualifiers against Guinea Bissau.
The Flying Eagles failed to qualify for the last Africa U-20 Cup of Nations under coach Emmanuel Amunike after losing on away goals to Sudan.
Maikaba said he is worried that the team is conceding goals and stressed that it is quite important they keep clean-sheets especially in away matches.
However, Maikaba added that he is confident that the team will be ready to take on the rest of Africa if they continue to improve at the present rate.
Maikaba said: ”Where we are not happy is that we are conceding goals, and times like this that you play home and away it is not good to be conceding goals.
”Away goals can make the difference, so that is why we have to work on that, our players should not be complacent even if they are winning 4-0, 5-0, they should make sure they have a clean-sheet.”