Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have sent out a passionate plea to all soccer fans to rally round in support and prayers for the youth national team, Flying Eagles.
The NFF message came as the team flew out to Niamey, Niger Republic for the commencement of the 2019 African U-20 Cup of Nations this weekend.
The Nigerian team are in Group A, where they will play their first game on Sunday against Burundi, before taking on South Africa in their second match and end versus the hosts, Niger Republic.
Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana are in Group B of the continental youth competition, from which all four semi-finalists will qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland.
Niger Republic are debutantes whilst Burundi are making a return after their historic exploits in 1995, when they lost to Cameroon in the final.
Seven-time winners, Nigeria are staging a return after missing the last edition that was hosted by Zambia in 2017.
Up till last week, 30 players were in the Nigerian camp, until Coach Paul Aigbogun sent his final list of 21 to Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) before the deadline set by the continent’s soccer governing body.
The Flying Eagles were initially scheduled for a friendly away to Saudi Arabia last Tuesday, to cap their build-up programme, but the match was postponed until after the U-20 AFCON.
The Flying Eagles will now play their first game against Junior Itamba of Burundi on Saturday, February 2, then line out against Amajita of South Africa on Tuesday, February 5 and Niger Republic on Friday, February 8.
Ahead of the commencement of healthy rivalry in Niamey, the NFF took to social media to call on Nigerians to lend support for coach of the side, Paul Aigbogun and his wards.
The NFF stated Thursday afternoon on their Twitter handle: “Our Flying Eagles have departed the country for Niger Republic.
“They face the rest of Africa as #U20Afcon kicks off this weekend. Let’s send in our wishes. #SoarFlyingEagles #Team9jaStrong #GoDoIt.”