Nigeria’s Flying Eagles will begin their quest for a first FIFA U20 World Cup title when they take on Qatar in a Group D encounter at the Tychy Stadium, Tychy today (Friday ), reports Completesports.com.
The West Africans finished fourth at the Africa U20 Cup of Nations in February and head into today’s game with only one win from their four friendly games.
Paul Aigbogun’s charges played , a 3-3 draw with Freiburg U19s; lost 1-2 to Saudi Arabia U20s; recorded a 3-1 win defeat against AFR Aelen and drew 1-1 with Red Bull Salzburg.
To make the team stronger, Aigbogun has injected some new players into squad with skipper Ikouwem Udoh, Valentine Ozornwafor, Igho Ogbu, Jamilu Mohammed, Olawale Oremade and Detan Ogundare amongst the few players
that kept their place in the team.
Manchester City starlet Tom Dele-Bashiru, IK Sirius of Sweden striker Henry Offia, Bournemouth’s Nnamdi Ofobor, Success Makanjuola and Jerome Adams are some of the new boys in the team.
The Flying Eagles were twice runners-up in the competition- 1989 in Saudi Arabia and 2005 in the Netherlands. They came third at the 1985 edition staged in the former Soviet Union.
The target this time around will be to claim the ultimate prize, which Offia believes is achievable.
“I’m really happy and grateful to be part of this team. This is my first time with any of the national teams and I’ll do my best not to disappoint,” Offia stated,
“We’ve had a good time in camp, learned a lot from the coaches and hopefully we put all into practice in Poland. It will be a tough competition no doubt but we are determined to go out there and make Nigeria proud. I’m grateful for this opportunity and I’ll make best use of it.”
Their opponent, Qatar, will be making their fourth FIFA U-20 World Cup appearance at Poland 2019 after making their debut in 1981 when they finished second.
They hosted the competition back in 1996 but they bowed out at the first round and they had a similar outcome twenty years later when they finished at the bottom of group C in New Zealand 2015.
Despite losing their opening match in the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship against UAE, Qatar still managed to finish top of group A along with hosts Indonesia thanks to head-to-head results. A 7-3 win after extra time in the quarter-finals of the competition against Thailand meant the Qataris reached Poland 2019 before losing in the semi-finals against Korea Republic.
Head coach of the side, Bruno Miguel Nogueira Pinheiro, a Portuguese will bank on Abdulrasheed Umaru who scored seven goals for his team during the AFC Championship for goals against the Flying Eagles.
By Adeboye Amosu