Flying Eagles start quest for eighth star against Senegal

Action between Zambia (orange tops) and Nigeria (green and white) in Abuja recently | CAF Image

U-20 AFCON Flying Eagles start quest for eighth star against Senegal

Clive Kyazze 22:27 - 18.02.2023

The 2023 U20 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt might be a World Cup Qualifier for the U20 FIFA World Cup, but winning the ultimate prize is top of the agenda for teams like Nigeria.

The Flying Eagles made sure the defending champions Ghana didn't qualify for the finals in Egypt after defeating the latter 2-0 in the West B Zone Group B.

Nigeria are the competition's record holders with seven titles, but they are yet to win one since 2015.

That is a long time for a country that has made winning African titles at underage tournaments their birthright.

Nigeria start their quest for title number eight against Senegal on Sunday at the Cairo International Stadium.

Head coach Ladan Bosso wants to see his team play as a unit, and this was showcased in his side's 4-2 win over Zambia in Abuja.

"As a coach, you don't build just with one person. Anybody can start and finish," Bosso said before adding.

"We cover up where our weaknesses were coming from, and where their weaknesses are coming from, we exploit it.

By the look of things, Bosso wants to approach the competition with less pressure on his team.

"We are still a work in progress. We work on our lapses to see how we can do the best for the team."

Senegal is a team that has enjoyed alot of success on the continent in the recent past. That should motivate the junior side at the competition; they have only managed three bronze medals.

Senegal's head coach Malick Daf wants to see his side book the World Cup ticket | CAF Image

Senegal are African champions, and they are also the Beach Soccer holders. Their home-based players lifted the CHAN competitions just this month in Algeria.

"We are here to continue the success of our country on the continent," said coach Malick Daf at the pre-match press conference on Saturday.

The Cubs are strong contenders for the title, having been to the final in each of their last three appearances but are yet to claim the coveted trophy, but keeping their eyes on the World Cup ticket too.

"We want to qualify for the World Cup later this year. Our group is very competitive, but we are looking at ourselves and doing what we have to do to win and qualify."

Before Senegal faces off with Nigeria, hosts and three-time winners, Egypt will face Mozambique in the season's opening game.