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U-17 AFCON: Every team wants to beat Golden Eaglets — Ugbade

GOLDEN Eaglets head coach Nduka Ugbade believes that his side have a target on their backs as they get set to begin their U-17 Africa Cup of Nations quest tomorrow.

The Nigerian boys will face Zambia in Constantine, Algeria tomorrow in their first match of the tournament, which also serves as the qualifying competition for the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Ugbade, who captained Nigeria to win the first edition of the World Cup at this level in 1985, is however confident that his players will not buckle under pressure.

“We are under pressure. We know that every team wants to beat Nigeria. I am not so much interested in the trophy as in the development of the players, and the beauty of the game,” Ugbade said during his pre-match press conference in Constantine today.

“These are young players. You can never say after all your preparations what comes next because you are playing technically, you are also playing tactically and also have to consider the psychological discipline of the players.

“We want the players to be disciplined to go for 90 minutes to emerge victorious.

“To achieve this, we want to do everything humanly possible within the context of our strength and capacity to see that every team that comes against us is subdued.”

Golden Eaglets captain Precious Williams insisted that his team should not be referred to as favourites, insisting that he and his teammates do not underrate their Group B opponents Zambia, Morocco and South Africa.

“We respect all the teams in the group. We are here to develop our football. We cannot say that we are the favourites because we are yet to play any team in the group,” he said at the same press conference.

“Our focus is to play according to the instructions of our coaches. We will defend and attack as a team and help one another to achieve a good result against Zambia.”

Nigeria won the Africa U-17 AFCON in 2001 and 2007, and have won the World Cup five times.

The Eaglets have also finished as AFCON runners-up on two other occasions, won bronze once and finished fourth twice, one of which was in 2015, when Victor Osimhen inspired them to win the World Cup in Chile.

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Naija Times