Nigeria U20 – Gabon U20 Preview: Flying Eagles hoping to get back campaign against Junior Panthers

The defending African Youth Champions will attempt to re-engineer their hopes of defending their crown against the Gabonese and also book a slot to the World Youth Championship

Nigeria U20 will tonight file out against the Gabonese U20 in their second group match at the African Youth Championship. After a poor outing in their match against the Eaglets of Mali, the John Obuh tutored side would be aiming to put their aspirations of defending the crown they won two years ago back on track.

Although the Flying Eagles could have picked a point against their Malian opponents but poor marksmanship was the major undoing of the Nigerian lads as they could not bury begging chances even with the goalie alone to beat.

For the Gabonese who would be making her second appearance at this stage, they would be charged by the exploits of their national U23 team which won the maiden edition of the African U23 Championship last year.

Having picked a point in their match against the Leopards of Congo, the Anicet Yala coached side, would be firing on all cylinders to win the trophy and to stand a chance of playing at the FIFA World Youth Championship in Turkey later this year.

To get to this tournament, they dismissed Burkina Faso in the first round of qualification before easing past the Young Carthage Eagles of Tunisia.

Coach Yala’s team parades a locally based team with CS Sfaxien of Tunisia midfield maestro, Didier Nyong the only foreign based player. Just like their Nigerian opponents, they dominated Congo DR in their first game but would have themselves to blame for missed opportunities.

Obuh as expected will ring changes to the team that lost the first game. Edafe Egbedi will start ahead of Umar Aminu who was a big minus to the Nigeria side in the first game, while Ovbokha Agboyi will get the nod ahead of Christian Pyagbara in the defensive midfield position.

The Gabonese, will also have Didier Ndonga and Ebale Mvele upfront to torment the Nigerian defence, while Younga Ness and Budje Manzia will be expected to do the dirty job in the midfield as Vivien Mayele who was a delight to watch in Gabon’s first game will be on parade too while Rodolphe Ngouandzela who thwarted the Congolese efforts to get a goal will be in between the sticks.

Should Nigeria lose to the  Junior Panthers, all hopes to defend her title won in South Africa in the last edition will be dashed as qualification for the World Youth Championship will fade into thin air.