The Nigeria U-20 team, the Flying Eagles, on Saturday started their campaign at the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations on a winning note. They thumped Burundi 2-0.
The Flying Eagles scored their two goals in the second half to put themselves not just in control of Saturday’s game but in the driver’s seat in Group A where all the four teams have played their first game.
Nazifi Yahaya headed Nigeria in front in the 55th minute before Effiom Maxwell doubled the lead for the Flying Eagles in the 70th minute.
Although the Flying Eagles beat Burundi’s Junior Itamba on Saturday, their opponents are a toughened bunch having had to wade through three rounds of qualifiers to land in Niger Republic.
Burundi’s Junior Itamba trounced Ethiopia 3-0 on aggregate, shot past Sudan 3-1 after both legs and then side-tracked Zambia by the same margin.
However, the Flying Eagles were too hot for them to handle.
The Flying Eagles will be up against South Africa in their second group game on Wednesday.
The South Africans played out a draw against Niger in their own opening group game on Saturday and would be looking to do better against the Flying Eagles.
Already, Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, has challenged the Flying Eagles players to give their very best at the ongoing tournament.
He said he would be at the competition venue to pick the best Nigerian player and blend him in the senior squad.
“I have decided to pick one or two of them, the best ones, to give them a chance when we regroup for the matches against Seychelles and Egypt in March,” Rohr, who watched the Flying Eagles train before their departure to Niamey, told thenff.com.
All four semifinalists in Niger Republic would represent Africa at the FIFA U20 World Cup finals in Poland, scheduled for 23rd May to 15th June.