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FIFA U17 World Cup: Nigeria battle Hungary in opener

The Estadio Olympico, Goiania will come alive on Saturday when five – time world champions in the FIFA U17 World Cup, Golden Eaglets of Nigeria will tackle Hungary in the opening game in Group B of this year’s championship taking place in Brazil.

The young football ambassadors from Nigeria touched down in Goiania on Tuesday from Sao Paulo, the city they had their training tour and the team swung into action with training session in preparation for the class against the East European side.

Thenff.com can report that Coach Manu Garba and his assistants are not leaving the stone unturned as they continued to impart tactical and technical knowledge to the players ahead of the game against Hungary, which he strongly affirmed to be a very important tie and “winning the opening game is crucial in building the confidence level in the team.”

He said: “We are looking forward to the game against Hungary with great expectations of having a good game and winning the maximum points at stake.” He told thenff.com in Gioania. Any team from Europe that qualified for a tournament like this, must definately be a good side, but we will approach the game with every seriousness it deserves to give Nigerians back home something positive to cheer at the end of 90 minutes.”

Both teams are not new to each other as the Golden Eaglets that have now be rechristened the ‘Super Eaglets’ by FIFA defeated Hungary 3-1 at the quarter – final stage of the maiden edition of the tournament in 1985 enroute to becoming the first country to win the tournament, after the team defeated Germany 2-0 in the final.

The quest for the Eaglets to conquer the world again begin in few hours time and dispatching Hungary will indeed be a strong display of intent towards winning a sixth world title, after victories in 1985, 1993, 2007, 2013 and 2015.

Nigeria will also play Ecuador and Australia in the group phase.

Ahead U23 AFCON: Nwakali rejoins Olympic Eagles’ camp

Midfield maestro Kelechi Nwakali is the latest player to join the camp of Nigeria’s U23 boys, Olympic Eagles in Abuja as the team intensifies preparations ahead of the 3rd Africa U23 Cup of Nations holding in Egypt early next month.

The former U17 World Cup –winning captain who plays for Spanish side SD Huesa was among the players that took part in Thursday’s morning training session at the National Stadium training pitch, supervised by Coach Imama Amapakabo and his assistants.

The mercurial midfielder played an integral part in the qualifiers as the team dispatched Libya and Sudan to book a slot in the U23 AFCON finals.

Nigeria’s U23 squad open their campaign against Cote d’Ivoire in the tournament on 9th November in Cairo before taking on Zambia on 12th November and South Africa on 15th November. All their matches will hold at the Al Salam Stadium.

Winners, runners up and third placed teams will represent Africa in next year’s Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in Tokyo, Japan.

The fiesta is expected to last for two weeks, from 8-22 November, 2019.

Ademola Olajire

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