The Flying Eagles skipper said the team will put in their best at the tournament.
Flying Eagles skipper, Abduljaleel Ajagun, has said the Nigerian team at the U20 World Cup in Turkey is not under pressure.
“We’re not under pressure and we hope to give our best for Nigeria,” declared Ajagun at a pre-match briefing before Friday’s opening Group B match against Portugal in Kayseri.
Nigeria failed to retain the African Youth Championship trophy in Algeria in April and struggled at the recent Toulon International Tournament in France.
But Ajagun has assured that the team will rise to the occasion when it matters most in Turkey.
Nigeria will begin its World Cup campaign on Friday night inside the smart football arena called the Kayseri Kadir Has Stadium.
Turkey 2013 will be their 10th appearance at the U20 World Cup.
In 1989 and 2005, the Flying Eagles were runners-up.
In a total of 44 matches in the biennial competition, the team has won 18, drawn 10 and lost 16. They have also scored 63 goals and conceded 56.
Coach John Obuh said he hopes for an improvement in Turkey on the country’s previous outings.
“We have come here with a purpose and we won’t disappoint Nigeria and Africa as a whole,” promised the coach, who led the team to the quarter-final two years ago in Colombia.
“We are, therefore, looking forward to improve on our previous records.”
Nigeria faces a Portugal side that, two weeks before, beat them 2-1 at the Toulon International Tournament.
“That gave us an opportunity to look at them and they also looked at us. So, it was a big advantage for both teams,” maintained Obuh.
“They are a team with character and we hope our strategy based on what we learnt about them will work in the match.”
Ajagun is one of three players from the 2011 World Cup and Obuh said he hopes their experience will carry his team in Turkey.
“They have the experience to help this team, but they also have to prove that with their performance here,” said Obuh.
FIFA has named Peruvian referee, Victor Corrollo, as the lead official for the match.
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