Nigeria U-17 head coach, Emmanuel Amuneke has charged his wards to be ready to play their best game of the competition in against hosts Niger Republic in the  opening match of the 11th African U -17 Championship at the Stade Général Seyni Kountché in Niamey today.
According to a press release from team’s Media Officer, Morakinyo Abodunrin to Goal, the former African Player of the Year believes a win against the hosts would set a good omen as Nigeria push for the trophy.
Golden Eaglets lost to Cote d’Ivoire in a dramatic 5-4 penalty shootout after a pulsating 1-1 draw in the last edition staged in Morocco.
“The first game is very important and we want to win irrespective of the fact that we are meeting Niger,” said Amuneke
“Of course, we know it is never going to be an easy match because both teams would like to win.
“We have told the players in clear terms that we want nothing but victory against Niger. It’s never going to be easy but we must be tactically and psychologically sound for this match.”
Eaglets will also face Guinea and Zambia on February 18 and 21 respectively but Amuneke insists that the focus of the team is Sunday’s match against Niger Republic.
“Mentally, we must be prepared for the home team but if we win, it will put us on course for other matches.”
Meanwhile, the Golden Eaglets have started the build up towards Sunday’s opening fixture against Niger with impressive sessions at the practice pitch of Stade Général Seyni Kountché (SGSK) on Friday.
All the 21 players featured in the morning session with players put under their paces in fitness exercises; passing drill; marking amongst others.
Amuneke psyched the players on the stiff test to expect on Sunday as the team fine tunes all the rough edges.
“We need to psychologically prepare ourselves in all circumstances because in football, you can never neglect the inconveniences.
“Our idea is that we want to win though we don’t know what the match can bring, we must be able to resolve the issue,” he concluded.