Nduka Ugbade, the lead trainer of Nigeria’s Under-17 national team, the Golden Eaglet has qualified his country’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group as an interesting one.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) completed the draw ceremony of the first-ever 12 nations tournament at the Cercle National d’Armee in Algiers, Algeria this Wednesday, putting together some exciting pairings.
Two-time winners Nigeria inherited a group that have emerging football powerhouse Morocco, 2015 runners-up South Africa and current COSAFA champions Zambia.
Per Nduka Nigeria is unfazed about their tough opponents as they’ve quality of their own.
“It’s quite interesting. We have always been waiting for this moment. We will face every team as they come. One after the other,” Nduka started.
Nigeria are a powerhouse in the competition – in their nine previous appearances they finished runners-up twice, third on the same number of occasions and finished fourth on one occasion.
However they have not won the trophy since they won a second title in 2007. Nduka says they don’t want to get ahead of themselves.
“We are not talking about winning the AFCON. We are talking and planning about winning each match. One after the other.
“We will fight. We are most probably in the toughest group. I have an idea of West, South, North and East African football. These are great nations but we are going to prepare ourselves for the onslaught.”
“Everyone of those teams will feel Nigeria. We have respect and a little fear knowing that we can lose. So with that, we have to prepare so losing it doesn’t come to pass,” Nduka concluded.
The 2023 U17 AFCON tournament will run from April 29 to May 19 across three cities in Algeria.
Annaba, Algiers and Constantine will be host of the entire and the four semi-finalist will earn automatic qualification for the 2023 U17 FIFA World Cup scheduled for Peru later this year.
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