The Flying Eagles face a daunting task of qualifying for the next round of the 2020 WAFU B U-20 Cup of Nations when they face Ghana in a crunch Group B clash at the Stade Charles de Gaulles, Porto Novo, Benin Republic on Wednesday.
The tournament serves as qualifiers for the 2021 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Mauritania.
Ladan Bosso’s team were held 1-1 by Ivory Coast in their opening game on Sunday.
Christopher Nwaeze had shot Nigeria in the lead but Ousmane Traore’s stoppage-time strike, after the Nigerians had been reduced to 10 men, earned Ivory Coast a share of the spoils.
Bosso admitted his defenders lost concentration in the build-up to the Ivoirian goal, but is hopeful his players will prove their worth against archrivals Ghana.
“It will be a tough game but we are ready,” Bosso said ahead of the game.
“A lot is at stake here, we are going to work hard to achieve our goal of picking a ticket to the U-20 Nations Cup.
“There was a loss of concentration from the defenders (against Ivory Coast), which led to the equaliser, but we will be better against Ghana. Our aim is to go for a win because that will give us a good chance of advancing.”
The Ghanaians would be gunning for revenge after losing their last two confrontations, but Mike Zaruma, who captained the Nigerian U-20 side versus the Ivoirians, insisted they would inflict more pain on the Black Satellites with an outright win.
“The draw against Ivory Coast was not what we expected. Against Ghana, we’ll be going out for an outright win to make our coach and ourselves proud,” Zaruma said.
Adewale Oladoye who was one of the standout players in the draw against Ivory Coast also expressed confidence ahead of the crucial tie.
“We have no choice but to win and boost our chances of qualifying for the U-20 AFCON. The draw was a setback, but I believe we will raise our game and win.”