Thursday Feb 07, 2019. 10:00
Nigeria coach Paul Aigbogun has warned his team against looking for a draw against hosts Niger in their next Africa U-20 Cup of Nations match.
The Flying Eagles are sitting pretty at the top of Group A in the youth continental tournament and need only a draw against Niger, in their final first-round match on Friday in Niamey, to guarantee progression into the semifinals – as well as a place in the U-20 World Cup in Poland later this year.
Nigeria could have wrapped up qualification already, but they were held to a 0-0 draw by South Africa on Tuesday.
While Aigbogun’s team enjoy a strong lead at the top of the log, they are by no means home and hosed. A loss to the hosts, combined with a win for South Africa over Burundi in a concurrent game in Maradi, would see Nigeria drop to third and miss out on the semis and World Cup.
The Flying Eagles coach believes that setting out to secure the point they need would be a mistake, and is urging his players to go for the kill.
“We wanted to win this match but we settled for the draw,” Aigbogun said after the stalemate against SA.
“We prepared well for this match but unfortunately we came across a well-organised team and we had difficulties.
“The next game will be very dangerous for us to look for a draw. We will go into that game hoping to win as in our first match.”