U-20 coach John Obuh targets African title defense

The national youth team manager has set his sight on defending the continental title won in South Africa as well as qualifying for the World championship later in the year

Flying Eagles chief coach John Obuh has told Goal.com that his ambition is to retain the African Youth Championship (AYC) while also targeting qualification for the FIFA U- 20 World Cup.

However, he reasoned that it won’t be easy repeating that feat but hard work, determination and resilience on the part of the team could help them retain the trophy.

 “We did not win the last African Youth Championship in South Africa on a platter of gold so we don’t expect us, or any other qualified team to do so in Algeria on a platter of gold,” Obuh told Goal.com.

“It is not that you will go there and pick the trophy just like that. That we won it last time does not mean that we will walk in there and pick the cup just like that. We have to work extra hard to be able to retain the trophy this time around.

“Everybody in the team must do our very best to defend the title. There are two thing s we are going for in the competition, firstly we need to be in the semi-finals of the AYC to automatically qualify for the next edition of the FIFA U- 20 World Cup while the second important mission is to retain the Cup,” he said.

Obuh, however, confirmed that his team resumed camping on Sunday. “The team resumed camping in Abuja [on Sunday]. We invited 20 players but five of them won’t be able to join the team now.

“Four of the players are still with their respective clubs for the Super Four competition of the Nigeria Premier League while [ADO Den Haag defender] Kenneth Omeruo is smarting it out with the Super Eagles in Faro, Portugal while another player too won’t make it. So we have about 12 left as 10 have already reported to camp in Abuja.

“What I did was to invite 20 out of the 25 players I used to prosecute the African Youth Championship qualifiers. Any moment from now we will invite more people to join the team," Obuh said.