Ahead of the U-20 African Cup of Nations which kicks off in Niger Republic on Saturday, ex-internationals Garba Lawal and Mutiu Adepoju has warned Paul Aigbogun’s Flying Eagles of Nigeria against underrating any team.
The Flying Eagles will begin their quest for the 8th African crownagainst Burundi later today , before they play South Africa and Niger Republic in other Group A games of the eight-nation tournament.
However former Nigeria international, Garba Lawal has charged the team to go all out and make the country proud but reminds them of how difficult it will be because other nations are well prepared as well.
“In a competition of this nature, every team or country going there wants to win. That is why all the U-20 national teams have been having preparations in camps long time ago, not only Nigeria.
“In a tournament, the first game is always very important. If the team can’t win the first game, they should not lose the game either. But winning is the best option.
“Now, every country knows how to play football, not Nigeria alone. A lot of countries are not afraid of Nigeria; they believe they can do it.
There is no easy game anymore– every game is a difficult one, mostly every game Nigeria is playing is like a cup final. If other countries beat us, everybody will talk, but if we win, you can only have less people talking.”
On his part, Mutiu Adepoju who made name for himself while representing the country at this level said with the attention and preparations given to the team by the Nigeria Football Federation, there’s no excuse for failure.
The former Real Sociedad and Salamanca of Spain forward added that the team should take every opponents serious as there’s no longer minors in football anymore.
“The players have all the chances to win the tournament; although one cannot underrate any team. They just have to take all matches very seriously.
“Nowadays, there is no weak team and no tough team. They are playing Burundi first and they should play with all seriousness. I think Nigeria have all it takes to beat Burundi.” He concluded.