Reigning World champions, Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets, will this afternoon, square up against the Chipolopolo Cadet of Zambia in the crucial last round fixture of the preliminary round at the ongoing 11th Africa U-17 Championship holding here in Niamey, Niger Republic.
Nigeria and Guinea are tied on four points after two matches but the Eaglets top Group A courtesy of their superior goals difference of 2 as against Guinea’s 1. The Emmanuel Amuneke-tutored Eaglets need a draw to book a ticket to the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile this October while Zambia that has three points from Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat of host, Niger, must win today’s match to snatch the ticket to Chile from the Golden Eaglets or kiss the World Cup good-bye.
“We need a draw against Zambia to qualify for the World Cup in Chile but we will go for victory on Saturday (today);” declared Coach Amuneke ahead of today’s crucial encounter.
“We have watched the Zambians, they very good. We have identified their play makers and we’ll tell the boys how to mark them out to neutralize their game plan,” the former African Footballer of the Year disclosed.
Not much changes is expected in Nigerian line-up from the regular first team, save for Uko Aniete that is likely to start ahead of Kingsley Michael that didn’t quite click in the midfield in the last game against Guinea on Wednesday.
Captain Kelechi Nwakali, gangling fotward, Victor Osimhen, Auwal Saddam, Deji Bamidele and Halilu Lukman are some of the notable regulars expected to do battle against the Cadet Copper Bullets of Zambia.
Whoever wins between Niger and Zambia will pick the first of the available four tickets to represent Africa at the cadet World Cup in Chile in October. A draw also favours Nigeria.
Guinea is favoured to grab the second ticket from Group A except the unexpected happens with Niger winning the second final Group A game and Zambia beats Nigeria with two goals