Nigeria under-20 national team will renew their rivalry with Ghana on Wednesday, when both West African neighbours battle for a slot in the final of this year’s African Youth Championship (AYC) in Dakar, Senegal.
The Flying Eagles are on an unbeaten run of group stage matches after posting seven points to dominate Group A, while Ghana lost their final group game to Mali to emerge runners-up in Group B with six points.
Nigeria are seeking for a record-extending seventh title in Senegal, but must end the Black Satellites’ bid for a fourth title in the penultimate round at the Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor.
Ghana have enjoyed better head-to-head wins against the Flying Eagles at the African Under-20 Championship, winning four out of five meetings.
Nigeria’s only success over their counterparts- a 2-1 win- was recorded four years ago in South Africa on the back of defeats in 1985 (2-1), 1993 (1-0), 1999 (1-0) and 2001 (4-1).
Last month’s friendly between both countries would serve as a morale booster for Coach Manu Garba’s side, who accounted for their Ghanaian hosts 2-0 in Tema, following a previous 2-2 draw in Accra.
All semi-finalists are through to the 2015 Fifa U-20 World Cup in New Zealand and will attract their respective group placement according to their eventual position in the ongoing AYC.
“There will really be no point qualifying for the World Cup, if we cannot go there as champions of Africa,” coach Manu said.
“Our tournament starts with this game and we have to be prepared to win it so as to stay on track for our main target, which is to be champions of Africa.
“This is the final before the final, it will even be tougher than the final.”