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We’re working assiduously to raise a team that will do Nigeria proud – Ugbade

Nduka Ugbade, Golden Eaglets chief coach in a warmth embrace with Emmanuel Michael, who scored the first goal against Ghana

Head Coach Nduka Ugbade says the Nigeria U17 technical team of which he is the head is working quietly but diligently and assiduously to raise a squad capable of doing Nigeria proud at the Africa U17 Cup of Nations in Algeria.

Ugbade, who has assisted a couple of coaches to win the FIFA U17 World Cup for Nigeria, is in charge this time and has shepherded his wards to the African finals after winning the WAFU B Championship in Ghana last summer.

The Africa U17 Cup of Nations will take place 29th April – 19th May in Algeria, with five-time world champions Nigeria drawn alongside Morocco, South Africa and Zambia in a potentially-explosive Group B, with venue in Constantine.

“We know that some work still has to be done within the next few weeks to put the team in great form. I am happy with the level of work we have done and the kind of playing personnel at our disposal.

“I believe everything will come together beautifully and we will have a team that will do the country proud at the tournament,” said Ugbade, who captained Nigeria’s U16 squad to win the inaugural FIFA tourney in China 38 years ago.

A fortnight ago, the Golden Eaglets returned to camp in Abuja for the final phase of their preparations for the U17 AFCON, and three days ago, hammered Mahanaim FC 4-2 in a friendly match at the NFF/FIFA Goal Project within the Moshood Abiola National Stadium complex.

Mahanaim stunned the Eaglets with a goal against the run of play, but the Nigerian cadets responded quickly with a well-taken free-kick to end the first half 1-1. In the second half, the Eaglets dominated with three more goals while Mahanaim was only able to score once.

The Eaglets will have a final camping programme in Europe before flying to Algeria for the continental finals, where the four top-placed teams will qualify to represent Africa at this year’s FIFA U17 World Cup in Peru.         

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