FIFA U-20 World Cup: F’Eagles Set To Curb Brazil’s Supremacy | Independent Newspapers Limited
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FIFA U-20 World Cup: F’Eagles Set To Curb Brazil’s Supremacy

Posted: May 31, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Chibuike Chukwu,  Lagos

At last, the highly anticipated Group E opening match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand between Flying Eagles and its Brazilian counterpart is few hours away from now. This is one match that has generated so much hype and frenzy in the camp of both sides.

Awoniyi  Malcom

Awoniyi                                                                               Malcom

Before this encounter, which may likely point to the direction the leadership pendulum of the group will take, the two countries had met thrice at the opening matches of this championship, with the South Americans running away twice and drawing once.

In 1983, Brazil humbled Nigeria 3-0 in the opener; in 1987 it won Nigeria 4-0, while the two sides played out a goalless draw in 2005.

This is why to average Nigerian football follower, this match is more than just a group encounter; to them and hidden rivalry is at stake.

The Flying Eagles will face the five-time champions before squaring up against North Korea and Hungary in that other.

If Flying Eagles success at the Super Six tournament in Nigeria, Africa Youth Championship in Senegal and warm-up matches in Germany is anything to go by, then the team stands a big chance of holding its own against the junior Samba boys.

In the three warm-up matches it played while in Germany, Flying Eagles whipped Hoffenhiem 5-2, thrashed Numberg 5-0 before rounding up its preparatory matches with a 4-1 victory over Freiburg.

There is no doubt that Coach Manu Garba has his hands full with highly rated players. In Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho, Garba can boast of a midfielder with a great precision and an eye for opportunities at the centre.

This is complemented by a lethal striker, Taiwo Awoniyi. He is one striker that can be relied upon to deliver the goods. Brazilian defenders will have to be at their best to contain this prodigiously talented finisher.

This is among other skillful stars in the team like Isaac Success, Musa Muhammed, Taiwo Awoniyi, Dele Alampasu, Kingsley Sokari, Moses Simon, Bernard Bulbwa, Godwin Saviour, Musa Yahaya and a few to mention, on the list.

To former Super Eagles player and coach, Christian Chukwu, there is no fear against Brazil: “With the quality of players that we have and their understanding, I don’t have any fears about any of our opponents, especially Brazil.”

Chukwu said the team’s performance in Senegal has left him even more convinced that it will soar in the championship.

For Man City’s Iheanacho while talking to the media last week, “We hope to scale through in our first game against Brazil and go on from there.

“Yes, they have won five times, but that time is past. This is a new generation and a new competition. It will be determined in 90 minutes.

“We have to do well as a team, put in our best for us to beat them because they are also a very good team.”

But coach of the team, Garba, meanwhile, went philosophical, saying: “I respect all the teams who have qualified for this championship and that includes Brazil, who has been good at this level, but believe you me, Brazil is Brazil and Nigeria is Nigeria.

“Brazil has won the World Cup several times, but Nigeria has got silver twice and a bronze.”

The Flying Eagles is going into the New Zealand party as African champions. There is no doubt that a lot is expected of the players. This is not unconnected with the results the team has been churning out lately in its test matches. One thing is clear, today’s match will aim at curbing Brazil’s supremacy over Nigeria at this level.