Nigeria aiming for nothing but victory against Egypt

U20 AFCON action between Nigeria (green) and Senegal (white) at the Cairo International Stadium | CAF Image

U-20 AFCON Nigeria aiming for nothing but victory against Egypt

Clive Kyazze 19:44 - 21.02.2023

The Flying Eagles know their chances of advancing to the next stage of the U20 Africa Cup of Nations are hanging on a thread.

The seven-time champions play Egypt on Wednesday at the Cairo International Stadium, aiming for nothing but a win.

Nigeria lost their opening game of the campaign against Senegal 1-0 on Sunday, while Egypt played to a barren draw with Mozambique.

Ladan Bosso, the Eagles' head coach, expects a better show than the one they put up against Senegal.

"We prepared very well to face the Egyptian national team," Bosso said at his prematch press conference. "As coaches, we know how to deal with and overcome the loss, and we are ready for the Egypt match."

"We lost to Senegal, although we were the betters side. But they could take advantage of the opportunities and successfully resolve the match in their favour," he added.

Egypt will boast the home advantage with an average crowd expected in the 75,000-capacity seater stadium.

Bosso is unconcerned: "The fans are important, but the fans do not win the matches. For example, we saw Qatar playing at home during the World Cup, but they could not advance to the next round."

The full-back expects the team to fight for only three points: "We will fight for victory over the Egyptian national team. The match will not be easy, but we have prepared well."

He added: "We do not think about losing Senegal, and we are ready to face the Egyptian national team.

"We know our chances are difficult, but we will fight to book a ticket to qualify for the next round."

Nigeria might be under pressure to revive their campaign, and Egypt and head coach Mahmoud Gaber expect a better show.

"We suffered from a low defensive block against Mozambique," Gaber said in the prematch press conference.

"And we will not suffer from this against Nigeria due to the different playing methods. We started working right after the Mozambique game. Everyone is ready, and we're very motivated to win," Gaber added. 

The former Ismaily coach also wants to change the way the team plays if they are to pick all three points.

"It is possible that we will change how we play against Nigeria. We watched the Nigeria-Senegal match, and we prepared well for the match."

A win for Egypt will deter Nigeria's chances of advancing, while they might be the ticket to the last eight for the hosts.

Senegal will play Mozambique in the other Group A tie, with a win for the latter securing a ticket to the last eight.