Captain of Nigeria’s U-23 men’s team, Azubuike Okechukwu has assured Nigerians that the team will get the better of their Sudanese counterpart when both sides clash in 5he return leg of the U-23 AFCON qualifiers at the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba tomorrow.
The Olympic Eagles led by coach Imama Amapakabo lost 1-0 to Sudan in Omdurman in the first leg of the encounter last Thursday and find themselves in a similar position to where they were in the previous round, having lost 2-0 away from home to Libya.
Despite losing in Sudan, Azubuike remains confident Nigeria’s U-23 team will be able to overturn the deficit tomorrow in Asaba.
“I think we will win the game. We are hopeful and we’ve been training very hard for the past two days. We trained after the game in Abuja and we’re training here. We lost actually but the weather was hot and everything. But, by God’s grace, next tomorrow, we’re going to come out and do our best.”
Profligate finishing by Nigeria’s front men cost the Dream team all three points in Orndurman despite dominating the match for large parts of the encounter with Mainz O5 attacker, Taiwo Awoniyi and Austria-based Sunday Faleye the most guilty of missed chances.
Amapakabo’s men will now need to score, at least, two unreplied goals against Sudan in Asaba to progress to the U23 nation’s Cup and despite failing to hit the back of the net against the North Africans in the first leg, the Turkey-based midfielder maintains that the team is capable of scoring goals in Asaba as they have done it before against Libya in the previous round.
“I trust the players actually. I think we can keep our calm. It’s a 90 minutes game, so if we don’t get the goal in the first half, we’ll definitely get it in the second half like the last game [against Libya] we played here in Asaba.”
Victory for Nigeria over Sudan will cement a spot at the 3rd Africa U23 Cup of Nations to hold in Egypt from the 8th – 22nd of November this year.
The two finalists in Egypt will fly Africa’s flag at the Men’s Football Tournament of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.