U-17 AFCON: We Will Do Everything To Bring Happiness To Nigerians – Nduka Ugbade

U-17 AFCON: We Will Do Everything To Bring Happiness To Nigerians – Nduka Ugbade

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By Amaechi Agbo

Nigeria U-17 football male team coach, Nduka Ugbade has stated that the young lads will “do everything to bring happiness to Nigerians” as the team prepare for their opening Group B match at the 2023 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON in Algeria.

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets will take on Zambia in their first match in the competition and the coach who had won World U-17 trophy in the 80s believes that he has a crop of players who hunger for fight in order to bring laurels to their father’s land.

Speaking in a television programme on Saturday (monitored by our correspondent) Coach Ugbade said although he cannot categorically set a target for the boys, noted that the road to achieving success in the competition is always to win their last game.

“Let me just tell you this, good performance. Good performance from all the players, and as a team,” the coach started.

“First we are not going to talk about winning the trophy because you win your last match, you win the trophy. If you are not able to win your last match, you don’t win the trophy.

“Let us win the first match and most probably, be lucky enough to win the second match then be lucky enough to win the 3rd match and get into the quarter-finals. Once we get to the quarter-finals and we win, then we qualify for the World Cup and then start pursuing the final. Once we get to the final, we will start to pursue the trophy.

“I don’t want to count our eggs before they are hatched. The most important thing is win the matches as they come and fight to the bitter end. This is what my thought is,” the coach said when asked about his target.

While calling for Nigerians’ support and prayers as they begin their campaign on Sunday, Mr Ugbade said: “I only ask and beg (Nigerians) to please support us with your prayers because we are technically, tactically and psychologically strong as well.

“We will do everything to bring you happiness.”

Nigeria will take on Zambia on Sunday by 5pm.(Nigeria time) in their first Group B match at the Mohamed Hamlaoui Stadium, Constantine.

The last time the Golden Eaglets met Zambia at this level was in 2015 in Niger Republic, when Nigeria triumphed 3-1 in Niamey with two of the goals from Victor Osimhen, who would go on to become the record goalscorer at the FIFA U-17 World Cup (with 10 goals) as Nigeria won a fifth global title in Chile later that year.

Interestingly, Zambia’s goal was scored by Patson Daka, who would go on to dazzle at the Africa U20 Cup of Nations hosted and won by his country two years later.

Nigeria has won the tournament twice in 2001 and 2007.

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