Flying Eagles battle Squirrels as WAFU B final holds today
• Flamingos, Ethiopia clash for India 2022 World Cup ticket
Players and officials of national U-20 football team, the Flying Eagles, are determined to beat the Squirrels of Benin Republic in today’s final of the West African Football Union B tournament in Niamey.
Both teams have already qualified for the 17th Africa U-20 Cup of Nations, Egypt 2023, but today’s encounter is to determine which of them is the best U-20 squad in the zone.
Like Nigeria, Benin Republic won their pool in the group phase, above second –placed Cote d’Ivoire and then defeated Burkina Faso, second–placed team in Group B, 2-1, in the first semifinals match on Wednesday.
Seven–time African champions, Flying Eagles of Nigeria, also defeated Cote d’Ivoire 2-1 after extra time in a tense and turgid affair at the Stade General Seyni Kountché, the winner coming from the penalty spot 21 minutes into extra time after both teams were locked at 1-1 following regulation time.
Today’s encounter will confer bragging rights on the winning side and immense confidence going into next year’s continental finals and Coach Ladan Bosso said yesterday that his boys are ready to go all out for the trophy.
“We are happy to have the AFCON ticket under our belts now, but we want more. The Cup is now within reach and we will go all out for it. We want to be WAFU B champions. That will give us tremendous boost going into the African championship next year,” Bosso stated.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s U-17 girls, Flamingos, are pumped up to do the hard work away from home by scoring as many goals as possible against hosts, Ethiopia, when both teams clash in a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup final round, first leg encounter in Addis Ababa today.
14 goals for and none against is the tally of the Nigerian girls in this campaign, after 8-0 and 6-0 aggregate wins over DR Congo and Egypt respectively.
Having won their two away games in the series, the Flamingos are determined to achieve another handsome win that will all but hand them the ticket to the finals in India in October this year.
The Nigeria delegation arrived in Addis Ababa on Wednesday night – which was at the behest of the technical crew, as Ethiopia is a high altitude territory. Head Coach, Bankole Olowookere, told thenff.com that his girls are upbeat about today’s encounter and will go all out for a win.
“We are confident. It is going to be a tough game no doubt, because the Ethiopians are also a good team. That’s why we have worked hard in the past weeks to perfect observed weak points. The girls know what is at stake and they will throw everything into the fray.”
Today’s match will hold at the Abebe Bekila Stadium in Addis Ababa starting from 4.00 p.m. Ethiopia time (2.00 pm Nigeria time) and will be superintended by Namibian officials. The return leg is scheduled for the National Stadium, Abuja on Saturday, June 4.