NIGERIA FACES GHANA, CAMEROUN AGAIN IN LIBYA
UNLIKE the draw for the 2009 edition in Rwanda, Nigeria's Flying Eagles will face its toughest challenge in this year's African Youth Championship, as the John Obuh-tutored side is pitched against 2009 finalists, Ghana and Cameroun, as well as Gambia in Group B.
According to the Confederation of African Football (CAF), Nigeria faces a difficult task qualifying for the World Youth Championships in Columbia when it begins its campaign against the defending champion, Ghana, on March 19 in Benghazi.
The Flying Eagles' second match is on March 22 against Cameroun. It was the same Camerounian team that stopped Nigeria from making it to the final of the 2009 edition after the team beat the coach Ladan Bosso-side 2-0 in the semi-final played in Kigali. The last group match for the young Eagles holds on March 25 against Gambia in Tripoli.
However, Flying Eagles' coach Obuh told a local website yesterday after the draw that he was not bothered about the teams in the group, which he described as a group of life. Obuh told MTNFootball.com: 'I'm used to being drawn in 'Group of Death,' but as far as my team is concerned, this is the group of life.
'I wouldn't want to believe that there is one or two teams who would be our biggest threat because we will play all three teams with the same determination and focus.
'Our first game will be against Ghana and we know it won't be easy and that is why we have set to work immediately. Our immediate target is to reach the last four.'
Also, the host nation, Libya, has been drawn in Group A alongside Mali, Egypt and Lesotho. The four teams in each group will face one other, with the group winner and runner-up advancing to the semi-finals. The semi-finalists will represent Africa at the FIFA U-20 World Cup slated for Colombia next year.
Ghana's Black Satellites holds the world title after beating Brazil in the final at the 2009 edition in Egypt, being the first team from the continent to lift the trophy. Libya, also, is hosting the biennial event for the first time and all matches will be played at the Industrial River and Hugo ChÃ¡vez stadia in Tripoli and Benghazi respectively. The tourney holds from March 18 to April 1.