Five-time world champions, Nigeria flew out of Abuja yesterday on their way to Tanzania to take part in the 13th Africa U-17 Cup of Nations taking place in that country, 14th – 28th April.
Players and officials were seen off at the airport by Acting President of NFF, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, who charged them to do the nation proud by lifting the U-17 AFCON trophy in Dar es Salaam on 28th April.
The Golden Eaglets secured their ticket to Tanzania after winning the WAFU B U-17 Tournament in Niger Republic in September last year, and will be aiming to be one of Africa’s four flag-bearers at the FIFA U-17 World Cup finals now scheduled for Brazil later this year.
Nigeria, Africa’s U-17 football powerhouse, edged fellow juggernauts Ghana on penalties in Niamey to secure their slot in Tanzania, and are in the same Group A as hosts Tanzania, Uganda and Angola.
Tanzania made their way into the draw automatically as hosts, while Uganda won the Central East zonal finals held in Tanzania in August last year, and Angola triumphed at the COSAFA U-17 Tournament in Mauritius a month earlier.
Nigeria is making her 9th appearance in this competition, having won it twice previously (Seychelles 2001 and Togo 2007), while Tanzania is making a second appearance. Angola is making a fourth appearance, but it is a first-ever appearance at this level for Uganda.
Cameroon, Guinea, Senegal and Morocco make up Group B. Both Cameroon and Guinea are appearing for the 7th time at the U-17 AFCON, while Morocco and Senegal are both appearing for the second time.