The Flying Eagles of Nigeria have kicked off their 2019 U20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with a 2-0 win over Burundi.
Top of Group A already after one game, Nigeria will be looking to beat South Africa on Tuesday, February 5 and get the three points which will seal their qualification to the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
It is the World Cup ticket that was the primary target with the title the secondary for head coach Paul Aigbogun.
“We must first plan on earning a ticket to the World Cup finals,” Aigbogun said before the tournament.
“There would definitely be no margin for error in the first two matches. Once we are able to secure maximum points from the first two matches, we would have one leg at the World Cup.”
Good enough for the title?
With just a win to earn the primary target, the Flying Eagles have it all in their hands for a ticket to Poland. It was a comfortable 2-0 win over Burundi on Saturday and their next game will be against South Africa who struggled against host Niger in their first game.
The 2-0 win against Burundi shows the Flying Eagles are already one of the best sides in the tournament but the game against South Africa will show tell more about their true quality.
Aigbogun has done a good job with the Flying Eagles since he was given the job as Head Coach in early 2018, ensuring that Nigeria scaled through the qualifiers from the second round.
For the main tournament, the Flying Eagles set out in a 4-4-2 formation, dominated much of the possession and had control of the game. Despite controlling most the game, Burundi gave them scares as they exploited the spaces left in the middle.
They did survive the scars and their brilliance in attack earned them the win.
The brilliance should be enough to get past South Africa into the semifinals but there are still questions if they can go all the way to the final and lift their eighth U20 AFCON title