Hapoel Ra'anana’s Olawale bullish over Nigeria's chances against Cote d’Ivoire

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Peter Olawale
Shina Odukoya
The attacking prodigy is insistent the Flying Eagles have what it takes to silence the unknown Small Elephants on Sunday afternoon

Peter Olawale has dismissed the suggestion Nigeria should be worried of what is awaiting them when they face Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday afternoon at the Charles De Gaulle Stadium, insisting it is Small Elephants who should be wary of the Flying Eagles.

Ladan Bosso’s boys begin their Wafu U20 Zone B campaign against the Ivorians in Benin Republic with the regional tournament serving as qualifiers for the 2021 Africa U20 Cup of Nations billed for Mauritania.

Nigeria’s preparations for the championship have been ideal, given the fact that they played several warm-up games before announcing their final squad.

According to the Hapoel Ra’anana teenage sensation, the Flying Eagles’ level of preparation would give them an edge over the unfamiliar foes.

“We are in Benin Republic to win the Wafu Cup,” Olawale told Goal.

“Cote d’Ivoire are a big force when it comes to African football but at this level, it’s a different ball game and we are focused on coming out victorious when we face them on Sunday.

“Without sounding boastful, we are blessed with a solid team and an intelligent coach and I feel these factors will make our opponents scared of us and not the other way around.

"We won’t go out to stop their uniqueness but will try as much as possible to help each other out in every part of the pitch.

“We hope to limit their quality, acknowledging their strengths but also their weaknesses and by God’s grace, we will emerge victorious after 90 minutes.”

Wafu U20 was initially billed to take place in November with Togo as hosts, but it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For the 18-year-old, delaying the competition is a blessing in disguise for Bosso’s team as that has enabled the Flying Eagles to get familiar with one another.

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“Postponing the Wafu Cup was a big blessing for us because that helped us bond very well,” he continued.

“It also gave us the opportunity to play more friendly games that helped us find the right balance and a shared idea of play."

After Sunday’s game against Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria U20 will slug it out with archrivals Ghana on Tuesday.