The national cadet team stumbled at the first hurdle on Wednesday and could be eliminated from the tournament with another loss against their eternal rivals
The President of the Nigeria Football Federation Amaju Pinnick has charged the Golden Eaglets to go all out for the win when they clash with their Ghanaian counterparts on Saturday in the WAFU B Afcon qualifying tournament.
It is victory or nothing for the Nigeria U17 national team, having succumbed to a lone goal defeat in their opening match against the Little Elephants of Ivory Coast.
With only three teams in Group B, another loss will leave Nigeria bottom of the standings and extinguish any hope of making it to the African Championships in Morocco later in the year.
Three-time world champions Ghana, playing their first game at the event in Togo, will present another difficult challenge for the Fatai Amoo-tutored boys.
But NFF chief Pinnick has urged the Golden Eaglets to believe in themselves and show a robust winning mentality against their opponents.
“Nigerians don’t want to know about tactics, just go, play and win the game,” Pinnick told the NFF website.
“The mentality of Nigerians is winning, they don’t care how you win, just win. Winning gives Nigerians a lot of joy.
“So, I just want to crave your indulgence to represent Nigeria well. I’m happy that I can see all the players in this U 17 team, I can see that we have the youngest team in this tournament, which of course, I’m very proud of.”
MRI bone testing rid the Golden Eaglets of some of their best players before the tournament, but Pinnick is confident there’s still enough talent in the side to make Nigerians happy.
Pinnick added: “It is a developmental football at this level. It does not mean that we do not want to win. Nigerians want you to win so that you will be celebrated. We want you to be celebrated. It is very important that we must win.
“Just work hard and ensure we beat Ghana. The attitude we always display is that we can do it. That is the spirit under my leadership in the Nigeria Football Federation and that is what we expect from you.
“Your coach will tell you the technical and tactical way to achieve winning, but what I will tell you is that you are Nigerians and for you to be a Nigerian, you must be positively rugged to achieve your dream.”
The Golden Eaglets are the most successful cadet team in the world, with five FIFA U17 world titles to their name.