Nigeria’s Flying Eagles will book their ticket to the FIFA U20 World Cup with a win over giant killers Congo in a second group game on Wednesday in Dakar, Senegal.
The Junior Eagles got off to a flying start when they defeated hosts Senegal 3-1 in their opening game on Sunday, while Congo forced Cote d’Ivoire to a 1-1 draw in the second game in Group A after a strong performance in the second-half.
Congo, who won the 2007 African Youth Championship by beating Nigeria 1-0 on home soil, sent defending champions Egypt packing from this year’s tournament 3-2 on aggregate after they won the home leg 2-0.
They also accounted for Niger and Benin Republic, both after penalty shootouts.
They are in Senegal with five full internationals led by striker Kader Georges Bidimbou and Hardy Binguila.
Two of their top stars – Raphael Ebera and Constantin Bakaki – who did not feature in the game against Cote d’Ivoire, but will be available on Wednesday after they served out suspensions from the qualifying matches.
They are therefore a very dangerous preposition.
“They have a very organized defence and they are a very physical side,” remarked Flying Eagles assistant coach Nduka Ugbade, who watched the Junior Red Devils play against Cote d’Ivoire alongside the rest of the squad on Sunday.
Congo coach Paolo Berrettini said he has been impressed with the Nigerian team, but hopes his team improve on their first-half showing against Cote d’Ivoire at the weekend.
“We watched Nigeria (vs Senegal), they are a very good team but we will take them on with confidence,” said the Italian coach.
“We hope to improve on our first-half performance, which was not good against Cote d’Ivoire and almost cost us the game.”
The Flying Eagles are intact with all 21 players on the final squad involved in full training Tuesday morning at the Stade Iba Mar Diop in Dakar to round up their preparations