The Nigeria U17 national team, the Golden Eaglets, were in action on Wednesday at the Hamlaoui Stadium in Constantine, Algeria, where they suffered a 1-0 defeat to the Atlas Cubs of Morocco in their second Group B match of the 2023 CAF U17 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
The Golden Eaglets had, in their first game, defeated the baby Chipolopo of Zambia and were in contention to qualify for the quarterfinals with a win over Morocco. Unfortunately, that encounter ended in a loss for the West Africans.
FT: Nigeria U17 1-0 Zambia U17
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Nduka Ugbade’s boys controlled the game but failed to make the most of their dominance count. We look at five things the Golden Eaglets learned from their last match ahead of their matchup with South Africa later today.
Things Nigeria Learned From Morocco Encounter
Just like in the game against Zambia, the encounter with Morocco shows the creative power the team has at their disposal. The Golden Eaglets created several chances during the game from the key players in the middle of the pack for the forwards in attack.
The team recorded 27 shots, but the five-time world champions could not make them count, as just four shots went on target. Abubakar Abdullahi, Emmanuel Michael, Favour Daniel, Yahaya Lawali and Light Eke failed to get their names on the score sheet when presented with opportunities to restore parity in the match.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, the head coach of the side Ugbade stated that the result would have been different if the Golden Eaglets had converted their chances.
“Everything worked absolutely well. We controlled the game but tactically Morocco controlled the outcome. We had some few mistakes as well but we created so many chances, and the only problem is that we couldn’t score.” Ugbade told reporters.
Back-to-back MVPs for Nigeria U17, Yahaya Lawali.
Despite losing 1-0 today, he still won it. pic.twitter.com/AbD1js5KwW
— POOJA!!! (@PoojaMedia) May 3, 2023
Lessons were learnt from the poor finishing shown by the Golden Eaglets against the Atlas Cubs. Coach Ugbade urged his players to be more ruthless in front of goal ahead of the next match against South Africa.
“It does happen in football. It is not a strange thing, but it is important to correct and ensure we are more efficient in front of the goal.”
Win or Draw
Nigeria remains second in the group standings, above South Africa on goal difference. The team knows they only need a decent result against the baby Bafana Bafana to ensure a safe passage into the next round. A win or draw will be enough to march on in the competition.
The Golden Eaglets completely dominated the Moroccans, with 406 passes recorded as opposed to 242 passes by the North Africans. They showed they can control games, and this should be a tool to be employed against the South Africans later today. Ugbade will urge the boys to take the initiative in the game to emerge with desirable results.
The Golden Eaglets are aware of what's expected of them. Despite the defeat, Ugbade remained optimistic about their chances.
“We will try to look for some ways tactically to impact the outcome of the game. We have a chance, but also, that chance can fade away. We have to work hard”. The coach stated.
This article was most recently revised and updated 7 months ago