The Nigerian U20 national team would have hoped for a better start to proceedings at the 2023 U20 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
But here are the things observed as the Flying Eagles lost 1-0 to Senegal’s Young Lions inside the Cairo International Stadium.
1. There is no standout talent in the Flying Eagles
Head coach Ladan Bosso did a good job guiding the Flying Eagles to win the WAFU B regional championship last year, but it was clear that the team needed to be injected with more quality to stand a chance in Egypt.
While the likes of Daga, Sarki, and Olamilekan are good footballers, none of them can be considered a generational talent in the mold of Victor Osimhen when he was with the Golden Eaglets.
2. The Eagles’ defence needs more work
The Flying Eagles started the encounter on the front foot, and they were the better of the two teams in their early exchanges.
However, a momentary loss of concentration led to Senegal’s goal.
It was not the only time the defence went to sleep, as the Young Lions could have scored more goals after the break if they had better finishers.
The Eagles are the first team to concede a goal in Egypt, and on the back of their display, it will not be the last goal they will ship.
3. The attack did not cover themselves in glory
The Flying Eagles scored goals aplenty during the preparation stage for this championship, but when it mattered most, the attackers failed to deliver.
Nigeria did not have a single shot on target for the first 68 minutes of the encounter and ended the game with two tame shots that failed to trouble the Senegal goalkeeper.
To make matters worse, striker Ahmed Abdullahi then came off the bench to make a nuisance of himself, earning a needless red card that will keep him out of the crucial next game against Egypt.
In Egypt to follow the AFCON U20, in particular of course The Flying Eagles team to whom I wish good luck for the whole competition! 🇳🇬#SoarFlyingEagles#TotalEnergiesAFCONU20 pic.twitter.com/89ulz4oF5z— Jose Peseiro (@JosePeseiro) February 19, 2023
4. Could Jose Peseiro’s presence in Egypt be a waste of time?
Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro was spotted in Cairo, Egypt, where he watched the Flying Eagles’ game against Senegal.
The intent is clear: scout and identify some of the best players in the team who can be drafted into the senior team ahead of continental challenges in the nearest future.
But on the back of the Flying Eagles’ poor performance against the Young Lions, the Portuguese tactician should not have bothered making the trip after all.
Nigeria’s next match in Group A is against hosts Egypt who played a goalless draw with Mozambique earlier in the day.