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U-23 Coach Optimistic as Nigeria Tackles Sudan Today

National U-23 Football Team Head Coach, Imama Amapakabo is optimistic that his players will score the required number of goals to beat Sudan today when they meet in their final Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifier at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, Delta State.

Nigeria lost the first leg in Omdurman 1-0 and needs to score at least two goals without conceding any to win the tie.Speaking after his team’s final walk out yesterday, Amapakabo told The Guardian that the lone goal the U-23 team conceded at the Al Merriekh Stadium in Omdurman last week had spurred his boys to work extra hard for today’s game.

The Super Eagles assistant coach said the arrival of some foreign-based players had boosted the team ahead of the game, adding that his wards were not under any going into the game.“The boys are ready for the game and also psychologically fit to interpret the tactics I want them to use against their opponents.

“Getting the right result to book a place in the 2019 Nations Cup in Egypt remains our top target. I am happy that Nigerian football fans will be on ground to give the players total support,” he said.A victory over Sudan will give the Nigerian side the ticket to the Egypt U-23 African Nations Cup to hold from November 8 to 22, where the best two teams will qualify for the 2020 Japan Olympic games.

“We were unlucky to lose the first leg game, but there is no need crying over spilt milk. Tuesday is here and the battle must be won. We are the defending champions and we must be in Egypt to defend our title.”

The Olympic Eagles have been training in Asaba since arriving in the Delta State capital on Sunday, and have been strengthened by the arrival of former FIFA U-17 World Cup–winning captain, Kelechi Nwakali.Nwakali will string things in midfield with Captain Azubuike Okechukwu, with Blessing Muyiwa, Sunusi Ibrahim, Stephen Odey and Taiwo Awoniyi expected to do a better job of putting away opportunities this time.

Goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar pulled a number of huge saves in Omdurman, and is expected to start, with former U17 World Cup winner John Lazarus and Ebube Duru at wingback.The Confederation of African Football has appointed Guinean official, Bangaly Konate as referee for the match, to be assisted by his compatriots Mamady Tere (assistant referee 1), Abdoulaye Sylla (assistant referee 2) and Tawel Younoussa Camara (fourth official). Mr. Luleseged Begashaw Asfaw from Ethiopia will be the match commissioner.

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