Nigeria U-20 team, the Flying Eagles will today take on their South African counterpart- The Amajita, for the third place in the 2019 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations at the Seyni Kountche Stadium.
Both teams emerged from Group A, with Nigeria topping the table, while South Africa lost to Senegal by a lone goal in the first semifinals, the Flying Eagles lost 4-2 via penalty shootouts to Mali after a 1-1 draw at regulation time.
However, Flying Eagles ace, Afeez Aremu has ruled himself out of today’s third-place playoff. The central midfielder suffered a training ground injury two days before the Flying Eagles lost on penalties to Mali and was not included in the line-up for the first time since the start of the tournament.
It is believed that Aremu will spend a few weeks on the sidelines as a result of the toe injury, effectively ruling him out of tomorrow’s game.
The fact that IK Start released him to the Nigerian Federation was a show of magnanimity as the tournament is outside the international window for national team activities and missed the start of their training camp.
Meanwhile, South Africa head coach Thabo Senong has predicted a tough encounter when his team face the Flying Eagles in their third-place match today.
Senong said the game against the Flying Eagles will not be a stroll in the park but a difficult one for his team.
The head coach is however positive his team will do everything in their power to win the match.
Both teams qualified for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland after finishing in the top four of this year’s biennial continental youth tournament.
The two teams battled to a goalless draw when they met in the group stage two weeks ago with the Flying Eagles finding it difficult to break down a resolute Amajita defence.
However, Senong insisted his wards have what it takes to beat the Flying Eagles this time around and end the competition on a high.
“We played to a 0-0 draw the last time we played Nigeria in our Group A encounter. Every game we participate in we always approach it with the intent of winning it. The same attitude will be applied in our third-place play-off match against Nigeria,” Senong told reporters.