Golden Eaglets coach Nduka Ugbade must exercise caution in selecting players for the crucial encounter against Burkina Faso in the ongoing 2023 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations, says former Nigeria goalkeeper Andrew Aikhoumogbe.
The Eaglets are in the quarterfinals of the U17 AFCON after navigating past a tricky Group B.
Nigeria’s U-17 national team emerged victorious against Zambia in their opening match, suffered a defeat at the hands of Morocco in the subsequent fixture, but displayed resilience by triumphing over South Africa in a thrilling five-goal contest.
The quarterfinal clash against Burkina Faso, scheduled for Thursday, holds significant importance as it determines not only the team’s progress to the semifinals of the tournament but also their qualification for the highly anticipated 2023 U-17 FIFA World Cup.
Aikhoumogbe, who witnessed the Eaglets’ commendable performance throughout the tournament, expressed his delight at their ability to bounce back swiftly after the setback against Morocco.
Acknowledging the team’s overall quality, he emphasized the importance of making well-informed and calculated decisions regarding player selection.
With the stakes higher than ever, Aikhoumogbe advised Ugbade against taking any unnecessary risks that could jeopardize Nigeria’s chances of success against Burkina Faso.
What was said?
“The Golden Eaglets have shown they are a good side in this tournament, and I really feel happy that they bounced back to winning ways immediately after losing to Morocco in the second group B game,” Aikhoumogbe told Complete Sport.
“At this point, where every mistake will be punished, I will advise Ugbade to ensure he does not gamble with his selection against Burkina Faso.
“The team is good, and I am optimistic Nigeria will overcome Burkina Faso at the end.”
Aikhoumogbe’s counsel serves as a timely reminder to the coaching staff of the importance of careful selection and strategic planning as they strive to secure victory and their spot in the prestigious U-17 FIFA World Cup.
Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets are the most successful team at the cadet world cup, having been crowned champions five times.