Nigeria’s youth national team, Flying Eagles coach, Paul Aigbogun spent the better part of the squad’s training sessions all through this week taking his lads through different tactics of goals scoring, as they prepare to battle Mauritania on Saturday.
The Flying Eagles will host Mauritania in the second leg of their African U20 Nations Cup final qualifier at Agege Stadium, Lagos, and Aigbogun knows he cannot take chances against the visitors, despite seeing his side eke out a 1-1 away draw in the first leg.
However, with his attackers having been guilty of missing several chances during the away fixture, Aigbogun concentrated on scoring techniques for their training at the match venue all through this week.
The Eagles started training at the stadium after returning from the first leg in Nouakchott, where they scored an early opening goal but could not add another before their hosts rallied back to equalise and force the draw.
Aigbogun, alongside his assistants Abdu Maikaba, Hassan Abdallah and Suleiman Shaibu, drilled the players on Monday morning, as well as Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and on Thursday morning before holding their final training session on Friday.
The Mauritania U20 squad, who have been together for four years, play a quick, smooth passing game and, though they often falter in the final third, Aigbogun admitted that his wards also have to overcome and exploit their opponents’ weaknesses.
Hence the emphasis of his training on putting away opportunities, while the goalkeepers — Detan Ogundare, Akpan Udoh and Robert Cole – were also drilled in various save making routines, as the defenders learnt how to cover the net area from the opposition.
Saturday’s game at The Temple of Soccer starts at 4pm, with the seven-time African champions guaranteed a spot at Niger Republic 2019 if they avoid defeat.
Nigeria have been champions of Africa at U20 level in 1983, 1985, 1987, 1989, 2005, 2011 and 2015.