By Ebenezer Bajela.
Ahead of their next game against Morocco at the ongoing U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria, Golden Eaglets head coach, Nduka Ugbade, has called for cautions as the team aims for their third Africa title.
Ugbade’s side defeated Zambia 1-0 in the first game in Constantine on Sunday to start their Group B campaign on a bright note.
In a chat with CAFOnline, Ugbade, captain of the U-16 World Cup winner in China in 1976, said the motivation for them was to quench a 16-year wait for the title, and battle to be crowned champions for the third time.
But he has warned they must take a game at a time.
“Of course, we have the targets to win, but we need to go a step at a time. We focus on the next match and if we win we are in the quarters. We get to the quarters we win and we are in the World Cup,” Ugbade said.
On their opening game victory, the coach says winning their opening match is a huge psychological boost for his boys.
“Most of the time, for the young teams, the most important thing is psychology. Not physicality, tactics, or anything. Winning the first game gives us a mental edge and psychologically, we are better than we started,” said the tactician.
He admitted Zambia gave them a good run for their money, but reiterates his side did the best they could to earn a win.
“African football has really developed and all teams are strong now, especially in Youth football. We played a very tough game against Zambia and anyone could have won. Of course, there were some mistakes and you will definitely have many of them at this stage of development,” noted the former Nigerian international.
“We created lots of chances that we couldn’t finish, some passes were not correct and many more errors. But the good thing is that we keep improving.