Flying Eagles end screening, begin preparations for qualifiers
Flying Eagles Coach, Emmanuel Amuneke, has declared closed screening of players for the African U-20 Championship qualifiers, saying the team will now concentrate on getting ready for elimination matches scheduled to begin next month.
Speaking to The Guardian at the weekend, Amuneke said all the players invited to camp gave a good account of themselves, adding, however, that only the best players were included in the team.
The former U-17 coach revealed he is focused on assembling a formidable squad that will qualify Nigeria for the African Youth Championship billed for Zambia in 2017, adding that the Flying Eagles will not underestimate any team in the qualifiers.
Amuneke said the coaches knew that the team’s opponents would also fight hard to qualify for the African Championship ticket, adding, however, that the national U-20 team has quality players that can surmount any team in the qualifiers.
“My focus now is to build a solid team that will not only qualify Nigeria for the African championship but also stand the test of time. We train twice daily to put the players in the right frame of mind ahead of the qualifiers,” he said
The Flying Eagles, who are defending champions and seven-time winners of the African championship, will face such hurdles as Congo, Malawi and Kenya in their quest to be in Zambia next year.
Nigeria will start the journey to the African Youth Championship next month when they meet the overall winner of the first round clash between Burundi and DR Congo.
The U-20 team will play the second round first leg match away from home in the weekend of May 20 to 22 May, while the return match at home will be staged in the weekend of June 10 to 12.
The overall winners of this second round clash will then be drawn against the winners of the Sudan versus Kenya against Malawi, while the third and final round will be played in July.
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