Paul Aigbogun: World Cup first, trophy second

Paul Aigbogun: World Cup first, trophy second
Paul Aigbogun

by Graeme Jackson

Wednesday Jan 30, 2019. 10:00

Nigeria head coach Paul Aigbogun says his first priority is to secure qualification for the U-20 World Cup, ahead of the Flying Eagles’ participation in the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations.

Nigeria will open their campaign in the continental finals in Niger on Saturday when they face Burundi in a Group A clash. The West African heavyweights will also face South Africa (next Tuesday) and the hosts (next Friday).

Group B is made up of Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana.

The top two teams from each group will advance into the semifinals of the competition and also secure qualification for the U-20 World Cup, which will be held in Poland in May and June.

Nigeria have won a record seven U-20 African titles, but but before they can dream of claiming number, head coach Aigbogun insists that they must prioritise a place in the World Cup finals.

“We must first plan on earning a ticket to the World Cup finals,” Aigbogun the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) website.

“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.”

Team administrator Aliyu Ibrahim Lawal confirmed that the Flying Eagles delegation will depart for Niamey, venue of their group phase matches, on the morning of Thursday, 31 January.

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