TotalEnergies U-17 AFCON: Ugbade Relieved To Make Quarters

By: Gyang Dakwo

Nigeria’s coach Nduka Ugbade has expressed relief over his side’s 3-2 win over South Africa to qualify for the quarter-finals of the TotalEnergies U17 Africa Cup of Nations in Constantine on Saturday.

The victory saw the Golden Eaglets finish second in Group B and earn an available automatic qualification slot.

“It was a really tough match because South Africa is a really good team and they gave us a tough time. They have three players that are really good; Mabena (Siyabonga), Mkhawana (Vicky), and Dokunmu (Michael). They are very talented players and I was honestly scared of them at first,” Ugbade said after the match.

Ugbade said he was delighted to see his side finally firing well to score three goals, having struggled to find the back of the net in their first two games despite creating so many chances.

“We worked a bit in training and we did some corrections. We realized that it was purely psychological and we talked to the players and we saw an improvement today. We might have conceded two but I am glad we scored three,” said the tactician.

Nigeria will now await the second-placed team from Group C,- Burkina Faso or Cameroon, -in the quarter-finals in their quest to quench a 16-year wait for the title and earn a record-extending third crown.