The Flying Eagles of Nigeria battle South Africa in their second Group A match of the 21st U-20 AFCON in Niamey later today will be needing an outright win to qualify for the semi-finals and secure a spot at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup with a game in hand.
The seven-time champions kicked off their campaign with a 2-0 win over Burundi last Saturday courtesy of two second half goals from Yahaya Nazifi and Effiom Maxwell.
Meanwhile, Niger Republic who forced South Africa to a 1-1 in the opening game of the tournament will play Burundi in the other Group A fixture.
A win for Paul Aigbogun’s wards would earn Nigeria a spot in the semi finals of the competition and a ticket to this summer’s FIFA U20 World Cup finals in Poland scheduled to hold from May 23 to June 15.
There are only two groups of four teams each at the 2019 U-20 AFCON, and the two top teams from each group will play in the semi-finals. And all the semifinalist will represent Africa at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Considering the results of matchday-one in Group A, the Flying Eagles would have secured one of the two semi-final tickets in the group if they beat The Amajita of South Africa to amass six points from two games. And they would only be playing to finish atop the table when they face hosts Niger in their last group match
The Flying Eagles side have made 11 appearances at the FIFA U-20 World Cup with their debut coming in 1981 in Australia.
Their best outings were however at the 1989 and 2005 editions when they finished runners-up to Portugal and Argentina respectively.