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President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau has told the country’s U20 boys, Flying Eagles to focus their minds on winning Monday’s semi-final clash with either The Gambia or South Sudan to reach the Final of the 17th Africa U20 Cup of Nations ongoing in Egypt.
Speaking to the players and officials in their dressing room at the Suez Canal Authority Stadium after the victory over Uganda on Thursday, which qualified the Flying Eagles for this year’s FIFA U20 World Cup finals, Gusau lauded the spirited efforts of the squad and implored them to do even better against the opponents in the last four.
“You have done a great job in achieving our first objective here, which is to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. With the World Cup ticket in our pouch, it is now time to go for the trophy itself.
“Our country has won this same trophy seven times before but our last triumph was eight years ago, in Senegal. Time for another triumph. For now, the semi-final is what is in front of you and what you must focus hard on,” Gusau, who was in company with Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt, Alhaji Nura Abba Rimi, said.
An own goal by Ugandan defender Ibrahim Juma, in a panicky touch following Ibrahim Muhammad’s shot that rattled the upright, sent the Flying Eagles to the semi-finals and also earned a FIFA U20 World Cup ticket, for Nigeria’s 13th appearance at the global finals.
At the Africa U20 Cup of Nations, Nigeria have been winners seven times, finished as runners-up twice and been bronze medallists three times.
At the global level, the Flying Eagles have been silver medallists on two occasions and won the bronze medals once, as well as reaching the quarter finals when Nigeria hosted in 1999, in Canada in 2007 and in Colombia in 2011.