Nigeria’s U-20 national team, the Flying Eagles, will on Thursday (today) face the Hippos of Uganda in the quarter-finals of the ongoing CAF U-20 AFCON in Egypt.
Aside from a progress to the semi-finals of the competition, the winners of the clash will also secure a spot at the 2023 U-20 World Cup, which will take place in Indonesia between May 20 and June 11.
Having made it out of the group stage in a bumpy manner, the Flying Eagles have set the World Cup place as their primary objective at the tournament, which they last won in 2015.
Their opponents, Uganda, will head into the game high on confidence after finishing top of Group A thanks to two draws against Congo and Sudan, a win over the Central African Republic and the luck of drawn lots.
Uganda only made their debut appearance at the U-20 AFCON in the last edition, but they shocked all, including themselves, as they surmounted all obstacles to reach the final but eventually settled for second place as they were beaten by Ghana in the final.
Flying Eagles coach, Ladan Bosso, said his side will begin to eye the trophy as soon as the World Cup ticket is secured.
“We are aware that Nigerians are looking up to us to deliver. While our mission remains bagging the World Cup ticket, we are also eyeing the trophy, which is still a number of matches away. For the moment, we have Uganda in our view and we are working hard to see that we control proceedings on Thursday (today).”
Both sides will trade tackle at the 22,000-capacity Suez Canal Authority Stadium in Ismailia, Egypt at 6pm Nigerian time.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football has appointed Egyptian Ahmed Nagy Mosa as referee for the clash.
Mosa will be supported by compatriots Mohamed Abouzid Halhal (assistant referee 1) and Yara Atef (assistant referee 2), as well as Libyan official Abdulrazg Ahmed (fourth official).
Justin Mumba from Zambia is the match commissioner, while Rosalie N’dah from Benin Republic will serve as referee assessor and Namibian Titus Kunamuene the general coordinator.