Lobi Stars of Makurdi defender, Ebube Duru has disclosed that he and his colleagues in the Nigerian under-23 team, Olympic Eagles are working hard ahead of their first leg away to Sudan this Friday, as he says they want to get a good result in Omdurman, before returning home for the second leg in Asaba next Tuesday.
While affirming that he has personally stepped up his own efforts in training with Coach Imama Amapakabo’s squad, Duru stressed that they have all declared their determination to ensure Nigeria qualifies for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Duru and his colleagues will this week resume their quest for a ticket to Tokyo 2020 this week, after Confederation of African Football (CAF) pushed back the earlier dates of June 3 to 11 to make way for the 2019 African Cup of Nations in Egypt.
Amapakabo’s side, which beat Libya 4-2 on aggregate to reach this stage, now have only the away and home fixture against Sudan to book a ticket to the Africa U-23 Nations Cup, which holds in Egypt from November 8 to 22.
In 2016, Sudan eliminated Nigeria’s youth squad, Flying Eagles from the race to the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which Duru admits has added to their squad’s determination to do well in their two games with the North Africans.
Although the Olympic Eagles will not be without several of their foreign-based players, Duru disclosed that Amapakabo already has a deep technical dossier on the North Africans, and noted that they are not as slippery as the Libyans, who the Nigerian lads beat in the previous round.
Eight teams will qualify for the U-23 AFCON, where Africa’s representatives for the men’s football event of 2020 Olympics will emerge, and Duru believes Nigeria will be among the lot.
Duru declared: “We are preparing very much, and we are working very hard. Personally, I am working very hard for the first match in Sudan. We are all working very hard, because we want to ensure we qualify for the Olympics.”