Ugbade rallies Nigeria for South Africa epic showdown

Nigeria’s head coach Nduka Ugbade wants his side firing on all cylinders when they take on South Africa in a crucial Group B fixture at the TotalEnergies U17 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Constantine on Saturday night.

Nigeria need to avoid defeat against the South Africans to affirm their second place in the group, but Ugbade does not want his side taking chances and has affirmed they will be going for a win.

Looking back at their defeat at the hands of Morocco, Ugbade says they have worked to sharpen their forward line to ensure they convert the chances that come their way.

“We have put the defeat against Morocco behind our backs and we are fully focused on getting a good result against South Africa. We didn’t deserve to lose against Morocco because we dominated the game but couldn’t convert our chances,” said the coach during Friday’s pre-match press conference.

He added: “We want to be more effective, more prolific in front of goal. It is a bit confusing because when we were in Nigeria preparing, we were scoring so many goals but when we came here we are not doing that. Sometimes with these young ones it is about psychology and we have addressed that.”

Forward Charles Agada, who came on as a substitute against Morocco, said the players have sharpened their scoring boots over the last two days in training.

“We want to convert the chances that come up for us because against Morocco we didn’t do that well. As a team and as players we are ready for the task,” he added.

Ugbade meanwhile admits it will be a tactical battle of wits against the South Africans, but remains confident they can do just enough to get over the line.

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