Former Super Eagles captain Austin Jay Jay Okocha has delivered an inspiring message to the Flying Eagles ahead of their Round of 16 clash with Argentina in the ongoing FIFA U20 World Cup in San Juan, Soccernet.ng reports.
Nigeria secured two consecutive victories against the Dominican Republic and Italy before suffering a 0-2 defeat to Brazil in their last Group D match, resulting in a third-place finish and a daunting encounter with the tournament hosts, Argentina.
Argentina, the favourites in this fixture, dominated Group A by triumphing in all three matches, scoring an impressive ten goals while conceding only one.
With an illustrious history at the U20 World Cup, having clinched the title six times, Argentina are undoubtedly a formidable opponent.
Nevertheless, Okocha emphasized the importance of embracing the challenge in a chat with ThisDay, stating, “For the team to progress and be the best, you have to beat the best, which is the mentality our players will have to apply playing against the host Argentina. We have to fancy our chances to progress into the next stage.”
Acknowledging their underdog status, Okocha urged the Flying Eagles to adopt a fearless approach and exert pressure on their Argentine counterparts.
He emphasized the need to capitalize on scoring opportunities, asserting, “We have nothing to lose as underdogs, and we have to put the Argentines under pressure, take our chances very well when they come.”
Nigeria lost their only previous U20 World Cup faceoff with Argentina as a Mikel Obi-inspired Flying Eagles fell to two Lionel Messi penalties in the final of the 2005 edition.