Nigeria’s Flying Eagles will begin their quest for a record eighth African title and a place at the World Cup in Poland when they face Burundi in their opening game at the 2019 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations (U-20 AFCON) in Niger on Saturday, Completesports.com reports.
The Group A encounter is billed for the Stade Seyni Kountche, Niamey.
The Flying Eagles will also face South Africa on Tuesday, February 5 and the hosts Niger Republic on Friday, February 8.
The West Africans last won the title in 2015 but failed to qualify for the last edition of the competition in Zambia after losing to Sudan via away goal
after a 5-5 tie on aggregate.
Paul Aigbogun’ s men had a near perfect qualifying campaign edging out Mauritania and Equatorial Guinea
The former Enyimba and Warri Wolves coach has stated that his team’s first priority is to secure the World Cup ticket.
“We must first plan on earning a ticket to the World Cup finals,” Aigbogun stated before the team’s departure for Niamey on Thursday.
“There would definitely be no margin for error in the first two matches. Once we are able to secure maximum points from the first two matches, we would have one leg at the World Cup.
“Afterwards, we would then begin to plan for the trophy. Focus and tactics must be for one match at a time. We cannot afford to falter.”
The 2019 U-20 AFCON Group B is made up of Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana.
The top two teams from each group will advance into the semi-finals of the competition and also secure qualification for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which will be held in Poland in May and June.
By Adeboye Amosu