The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) says players and officials of the Golden Eaglets are well motivated to beat Burkina Faso in tomorrow’s semifinal of the WAFU U-17 Cup Tournament in Togo.
The coach Fatai Amoo-led Golden Eaglets sneaked into the semifinal on Tuesday evening after Group B pacesetters, Baby Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire, hammered the Black Starlets of Ghana 3-1 at the city’s Stade Municipal. Nigeria will take on Burkina Faso, another youth football powerhouse, in the semi finals tomorrow at Togo’s main stadium, Stade Kegue.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, NFF president, Amaju Pinnick said that the federation had given the team all it needs to overcome the Burkina babes, adding that the players and their handlers know what is at stake.
The Golden Eaglets, who are five-time world champions, lost by the odd goal to the Ivorians on the opening day of the competition and were forced to a 1-1 draw by Ghana at the weekend. They needed a favour from the Ivorians to progress to the knockout stage, which the Baby Elephants obliged.
The winners of tomorrow’s semifinals will battle for the trophy on Wednesday at the Stade Kegue, and also qualify for the CAF U-17 Cup of Nations billed for March 13 -31 in Morocco.
Pinnick stated that the circumstances that surrounded the Golden Eaglets’ qualification to the knockout stage were enough to propel them in the match against Burkina Faso.
“I visited the players and their officials in Togo before their match against Ghana, and from what I saw, the team has what it takes to beat Burkina Faso in the semifinal and go on to win the trophy. We have done what is expected of the federation, and I am sure the players will live up to the challenge on Friday,” he stated.
The Guardian recalls that during his visit to the team’s camp at the Hotel Novella Star in Lome, Togo, last week, Pinnick charged the players to believe in themselves, and that Nigerians don’t want to know about tactics. “Just go, play and win the game. The mentality of Nigerians is winning, they don’t care how you win, just win. Winning gives Nigerians a lot of joy.”