Flying Eagles arrive in Poland for final FIFA U-20 World Cup preparations
The team flew out Germany via Munich yesterday morning for the final leg of preparation for the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup that starts on May 23.
While in Bad Grogging, the team played four friendly games (a 3-3 draw with Freiburg U19s; a 1-2 loss to Saudi Arabia U20s; a 3-1 win over AFR Aelen and; a 1-1 draw with Red Bull Salzburg) as they seek to win the FIFA U20 World Cup for the first time.
Two –time runners up at the competition, in 1989 and 2005, Nigeria took the bronze medals at the 1985 finals staged in the former Soviet Union.
Team captain Ikouwem Udoh Utin told thenff.com that the camping exercise in Germany has helped the team blend very well.
“Our time in Germany has really helped us to come together as a group, blend with one another as well as learn new things from our coaches,” Utin enthused.
“It has been a wonderful experience here in camp. The boys now understand one another better and we have perfected our plans as we go into the tournament. We want to make Nigeria proud in Poland and we will do our best not to disappoint Nigerians. Our aim is to go all out and win the trophy for Nigeria. We also want to thank the NFF and Nigerians for their support and we will go there and represent Nigeria well.”
IK Sirius of Sweden striker Henry Offia is also optimistic that the team will go far in Poland 2019 and the lessons learned in camp will go a long way to help actualise this aim.
“I’m really happy and grateful to be part of this team. This is my first time with any of the national teams and I’ll do my best not to disappoint,” Offia stated, adding: “We’ve had a good time in camp, learned a lot from the coaches and hopefully we put all into practice in Poland. It will be a tough competition no doubt but we are determined to go out there and make Nigeria proud. I’m grateful for this opportunity and I’ll make best use of it.”
17 –year old goalkeeper Jonathan Zacalla, who is also one of the new faces in the team believes this team will give their best in Poland. Zacalla, who plays for Triestina in Italy also told thenff.com that the camping exercise has helped develop his game which hopefully will translate to a good outing in Poland.
“The camping exercise was tough but I enjoyed every bit of it. It was a good experience for me and the other players,” he revealed.
“I’m hopeful of a good outing in Poland and will continue to work hard to make it happen. Our coaches have done a lot in training and I hope we can use that to good effect when the U20 competition starts.”
The team was boosted by a visit to the camp on Thursday by Nigeria Football Federation President, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi and Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr.
Nigeria will start her FIFA U20 World Cup campaign on May 24 against Group D foes Qatar before other duels against USA and Ukraine.