Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets will this afternoon open their U-17 African Cup of Nations account as they take on hosts Tanzania in the tournament’s opening game this afternoon.
Though chief coach Manu Garba admitted that his side may face pressure associated with opening games, he stated that his wards will hold their heads high in the team’s return to the tournament after missing the 2017 edition even as the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup champions.
“I think all first matches are difficult, not only playing against the host team but in all the competitions I have participated in, our first matches have been very, very good.
“I can easily recall that in 2012/2013 when we had our opening match in Morocco against Ghana, it was 6-1 against Ghana.
“In Dubai during the World Cup, we beat the defending champions Mexico 6-1 in the opening match. Then in 2015 against Senegal at U-20 level, in Dakar we beat Senegal 3-1, I was in charge.
“It will not be difficult by the special grace of Almighty Allah.”
Golden Eaglets captain Samson Tijani added that the team is ready and with cool heads, they should be able to handle the title seeking Tanzanians inspired by former Golden Eaglets coach Emmanuel Amuneke.
The Golden Eaglets will face Angola and Uganda next in group A.