BY JACOB AJOM
Nigeria’s quest for a ticket to the 2013 Africa Youth championship in Algeria continues today when the Flying Eagles take on their South African counterparts in the first leg final round qualifiers on Friday in Nelspruit, South Africa.
Both teams met earlier in July in an invitational tournament in South Africa with the hosts winning by a lone goal. Ever since, however, the two teams have come a long way. To get to this level, the Amajitas, as the South African team are called overcame their Congolese counterparts while the John Obuh-tutored Flying Eagles eliminated Tanzania 4-1 aggregate.
Obuh’s preparations have been impressive since trouncing Tanzania 2-0 in Ilorin late last
month. Indeed, the Flying Eagles were on a playing tour of the Republic of Benin where they played some friendly matches and the Nigerian Ambassador to that country, Laurence Olufemi Obisakin attested to his satisfaction with the quality of the team.
Coach John Obuh travelled with a very strong squad to South Africa, the same players that saw off Tanzania in both legs to get to this stage. With strikers like Alhaji Gero, Aminu Umar Bright Ejike and Yahaya Adamu showing so much understanding upfront the Amajitas defence line could be in real trouble, particularly, if the midfield expected to be marshaled by the likes of Abduljaleel Ajagun, Uche Agbo and enterprising Chidi Osuchukwu employ the desired synergy and rhythm between the defence and the attack .The Flying Eagles coach has admitted that he has no injury worries and with a bit of luck, his wards can prevail over their hosts.
“Sure, the players are fit because fitness was paramount in our preparations for the match. We have done our homework, no injury worry, at least,. We pray for luck.”
The Flying Eagles are the defending champion of the African title and it would be unthinkable not to have them in Algeria when hostilities resume.