Coach Manu Garba has predicted that the class and quality of the Golden Eaglets will be such that fans of hosts Niger will turn to cheer his team to victory tonight in Niamey.
The Eaglets and Niger will battle for a place in the final of the zonal U17 AFCON qualifiers.
“Niger fans will come to cheer the Eaglets to victory because we are the No 1 team in the world at this level and even though we respect all our opponents, we can only get better,” Eaglets coach Manu Garba declared.
Manu and the Eaglets have squared up against Niger several times with the boys from Niamey even eliminating their more illustrious neigbours in the U17 AFCON qualifiers two years ago.
“It’s a different team here now,” insisted Manu.
“We lost to Niger two years ago, but I don’t wish to be drawn into talks about how the officiating was in those matches.
“But it will also be recalled we beat Niger 4-1 at their home and 6-0 in Nigeria to qualify for the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup.”
The Eaglets have been the highest scoring team in Niger, but they will be up against a Junior Mena who have yet to concede a goal thanks in part to captain and sweeper Djibrilla Ibrahim Mossi.
The Nigeria U17s plan to line up the same team who thrashed Cote d’Ivoire 5-1 in their final group game.
They play a 4-4-2 diamond formation.
It means Man of the Match Akinkunmi Amoo, skipper Samson Tijani and the team’s leading scorer with three goals, Olakunle Olusegun, will start tonight.
Eaglets vs Niger
John Amah – Oluwatimlehin Adeniyi, Mohammed Ibrahim, Clement Ikenna, David Shaya – Samson Tijani (Captain), Hassan Hussein, Babatunde Akinsola, Akinkunmi Amoo – Olatomi Olaniyan, Olakunle Olusegun