Nigeria’s youth national team, Flying Eagles are bound to face another Herculean battle at the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations in Niger Republic, as South Africa are promising fire and brimstone in the third place clash.
Although many observers would see Saturday’s as a mere formality that should not draw hyper-charged emotions or efforts from the players and coaches on either side, the South Africans are thinking differently.
This is sequel to a declaration by Amajita coach, Thabo Senong that his side will play to win, because they want to finish third in Niamey.
Amajita have already qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland, by virtues of their semi-final placements in Niger Republic, but Senong says they want to go one step further in returning home with a prize.
It will be a replay of their second group match, in which they battled to a goalless finish with the seven-time champions but, after both sides lost out to Mali and Senegal respectively in Wednesday’s semi-finals, Senong is seeking victory on Saturday as a huge consolation.
Senong, who is at the U-20 AFCON for the third time said he is equally looking forward to the Youth Mundial in Poland, and says they will kick-start their preparations by gunning for victory against Nigeria.
The Malian gaffer stressed: “We will do our best (in the third placed match), since we play every game to win.
“Playing against Nigeria is another opportunity for us to face opponents of another calibre and be the start of our preparation for the world.
“As far as the World Cup is concerned I can say that we have enough time to prepare for it.”