Abuja, Nigeria – (African Boulevard News) – With the TotalEnergies U-17 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals fast approaching, Nigeria’s U-17 national team is drawing strength from the prospect of securing their place in the 2023 U-17 World Cup. Head coach Nduka Ugbade has emphasized that the possibility of qualifying for the World Cup is a huge motivation for the young footballers.
“We know the importance of this game and the reward of qualifying for the World Cup. It is a massive motivation for the boys,” Ugbade said ahead of Thursday’s quarter-final match against Burkina Faso in Algiers.
The TotalEnergies U-17 Africa Cup of Nations tournament is a biennial competition that features the best U-17 teams across Africa, with the winner and the runner-up qualifying for the U-17 World Cup. The competition is organized by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Nigeria has a rich history in the tournament, having won it five times, including in 2013 and 2015.
Ugbade, who is the first Nigerian to captain a World Cup-winning team at any level, is keen on taking his team to the World Cup. He believes that the possibility of playing in the tournament is a massive incentive for his team to do well in the quarter-finals.
The Eaglets have been in impressive form so far in the tournament, winning all their group-stage matches and conceding only two goals. They are considered one of the favorites to win the tournament, and their form has been notable, scoring eight goals in three games.
Ugbade has been impressed with the overall performance of his team, which he credits to the hard work and dedication of the players.
“We have a good team, and the players are committed to winning the tournament. They have been training hard and have shown a lot of character in all their matches,” Ugbade said.
Thursday’s quarter-final match against Burkina Faso will be a stern test for the Eaglets, but Ugbade is confident that his team will deliver a good performance and secure their place in the World Cup.
“Burkina Faso is a good team, and we respect them, but we are also a good team, and we are ready for the challenge. We want to win and qualify for the World Cup,” Ugbade said.
As the young Eagles prepare for their quarter-final match, the entire country is behind them as they aim to secure their place in the 2023 U-17 World Cup.