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2019 African Games: Nigeria’s Flying Eagles seek to break 46-year old jinx

coach Paul Aigbogun of Nigeria U20 during the FIFA U-20 World Cup Poland 2019 group D match between USA U20 and Nigeria U20 at Bielsko-Biala Stadium on May 27, 2019 in Bielsko-Biala, Poland(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

After winning the gold medal in the women’s football event on Thursday at the ongoing African Games in Morocco, Team Nigeria is looking to add the gold in the men’s football event today.

It has been 46 years since Nigeria last won the gold medal of the men’s football event at the African Games and the Flying Eagles are looking to break the long jinx as they take on Burkina Faso.

Having scraped past Mali in the semi-final, which was decided via a nervy penalty shoot-out, coach Paul Aigbogun and his team are hoping to etch their names in Nigeria and indeed Africa’s football history books.

Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES in Morocco ahead of Friday’s final, Coach Aigbogun said they are ready to give their all against Burkina Faso.

“We thank God that we are in the final and on the match day we are going to give over 100 per cent in the game,” he said.

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“We know the final is not going to be an easy game and we are looking forward to it.”

With his team barely squeezing through to the final, the Flying Eagles coach said he is hopeful they can do better in Friday’s final.

He said: “I don’t think we want to see what happened in the semi-final, but that’s football, that’s how the game went and we have to be prepared for any way the game goes.

 

“In the final, we hope it ends in the 90 minutes but if not, we have to be prepared for everything.

“We have been practicing (for penalty kicks) but there is no way you can replicate the same situation in Match day, you can practice 100 times in training but can never be the same on Match day. We just hope to continue giving it our all.”

Aware that his team can be the first-ever to win the Men’s African football gold on foreign soil, coach Aigbogun posits that it would be great to deliver on the Gold.

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“I think it has been a fantastic achievement for the players getting to the final, but as I said, we have not won anything yet, we are focused and praying to get the victory.

“I am sure they are aware of the magnitude of the game, but even at that, if we won it last year, we will still want to win it again, it is their time and not any body’s time, and it will be fantastic for them to win the gold, it will be good for their career,” he said.

Nigeria’s only African Games men’s football gold was won way back on home soil in 1973 when the gold medal became Nigeria’s first continental football triumph.

Many are keen to see if the Flying Eagles at Stade Boubker Aamar will sign out in style from Morocco.

Burkina Faso’s U20 side ousted Senegal to set up this final clash against Nigeria.


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