The Flying Eagles of Nigeria will be seeking to qualify for the U20 Africa Cup of Nations when hostilities at the West African Football Union (WAFU) Zone B U-20 championship kicks off on Saturday, The SportsBay reports.
The championship which is being held in Benin Republic serves as qualifiers for the U20 Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for Mauritania which will, in turn, determine Africa’s representatives for the 2021 FIFA U20 World Cup.
The championship will be fiercely contested by Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.
Nigeria, seven-time CAF U-20 African Nations Cup champions will be competing in group B of the zonal qualifier against arch-rivals, the Black Stars of Ghana – three-time Africa U-20 champions, alongside the Junior Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire.
In the first edition of WAFU Zone B in 2018, Nigeria defeated Ghana to reach the semifinals but lost 1-2 to Senegal in the final.
The seven-time African champions have played eight warm-up games and won all eight during their five weeks close camping in the nation’s capital, Abuja in preparation for the championship ahead of her first match against Cote d’ Ivoire on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, has charged the team to make Nigeria proud by winning the competition in the Benin Republic.
“The Flying Eagles have always made us proud, go there and make Nigerians proud. “We believe you are young, talented and determined. Your coaches have impacted much on you, go there and come back victorious,” he said.
Coach of the team, Ladan Bosso, assured that the team was ready to do the nation proud in spite of being in a tough group.
The WAFU Zone B U-20 Championship is an association football tournament that is contested by national teams of Zone B of the West African Football Union.