WAFU B U-17 Championship: Ugbade confident ahead of must-win clash against Cote d’Ivoire

WAFU B U-17 Championship: Ugbade confident ahead of must-win clash against Cote d’Ivoire

The Head Coach of the Nigeria U-17 team, Nduka Ugbade, is very positive the Golden Eaglets will get the job done in Tuesday’s first semi-final clash at the ongoing WAFU B U17 Championship in Cape Coast, Ghana.

The Eaglets are scheduled to take on their Ivorian counterparts at the 15,000-capacity Cape Coast Stadium by 4 p.m. before the second semi-final between hosts Ghana and Burkina Faso at the same venue.

With only the finalists guaranteed a ticket to the U17 Africa Cup of Nations billed for Algeria, Ugbade says his boys cannot afford to drop the ball now; especially after registering a bright start in the regional qualifier.

“The match against Cote d’Ivoire is of high importance to us. In fact, I have reminded the players that this one is the biggest match of their lives.

“They must win to secure a ticket to the U17 Africa Cup of Nations, and from there to the U17 World Cup, and from there to several opportunities and possibilities,” Ugbade was quoted saying in a press statement issued by the NFF on Monday

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“Whatever we have done here (beating Ghana and Togo) will not mean much if we don’t go all out and grab our ticket to the AFCON and to the Final. We will throw everything into the fray,” he added.

READ ALSO: WAFU B U-17 Championship: Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets beat Togo to qualify for semi-final

The Eaglets, five-time world champion, overpowered Ghana’s Black Starlets 4-2 in the tournament opener and then Togo’s Young Sparrowhawks; beating them 3-1 to finish as Group A winners.

The Ivorians on their part finished as runners-up in Group B, dominated by Burkina Faso’s Young Etalons.

Victory in Tuesday’s encounter will help the Eaglets achieve their first task of qualifying for the U-17 AFCONi and then an opportunity to reclaim the WAFU B U17 title they won in Niamey, Niger Republic four years ago.

It also provides the Nigerian youngsters with a revenge platform against the Ivorians, who defeated them in the final of the same competition in Lome early last year.

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Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire qualified for the last Africa U17 Cup of Nations but the event was cancelled as hosts Morocco developed cold feet with the COVID-19 pandemic still biting in some countries at the time.

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