Nigeria U17 set out for their final Group A clash against a resurgent Uganda U17 side at the National Stadium, Dar Es Salaam on Saturday evening.
Contrary to widespread thought, the Golden Eaglets, despite leading the group, are yet to seal a semi-final and U17 World Cup spot. The game against their Ugandan counterparts and Angola’s clash with hosts Tanzania will be crucial to their chances.
Manu Garba’s forces followed up a hard-fought 5-4 win over Tanzania with a 1-0 victory over 10-man Angola.
Saturday’s opponents Uganda bounced back from a 1-0 defeat against Angola to dump hosts Tanzania out of the tournament with a 3-0 win, with Kawooya Andrew, Asaba Ivan and Najib Yiga providing the goods.
To progress, the Golden Eaglets need at least a point to be on the safer side, seeing as they are the only side in the group with six points, with Uganda and Angola are tied on three. Tanzania are rooted to the bottom of the standings with no point.
A loss for Garba’s boys against the Cecafa champions and a huge win for Angola against Tanzania can dampen the promises of the west Africans.
In the last game, Garba made just one change; drafting in Stephen Sunday for Suleman Shaibu, who endured a torrid time between the sticks in the opener, conceding four goals in the 5-4 thriller.
The gaffer may, however, be willing to give other players a shout, opting to rest some of his starters in spite of the nature of the game.
Divine Nwachukwu was impressive after replacing Wednesday’s matchwinner Olakunle Olusegun. Chelsea youngster Adrian Akande might get the nod in attack for the tricky tie.
With Garba looking out for his ‘boys’ improvement as the competition progresses, Nigeria would be targetting a third win in three games, thereby leaving nothing to chance. They look to join Cameroon in the semi-finals.