Nduka Ugbade believes the experience and pedigree of the Golden Eaglets would come in handy when they play Iran on Tuesday in a Round of 16 match at the Khalifa Bin Stadium in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
While the Golden Eaglets have won the Under-17 World Cup three times, the Iranians are only making their third appearance and Ugbade is upbeat about the chances of the Nigerians youngsters.
“We have been keeping tabs on all our likely opponents and I paid so much attention to the game between Iran and Austria on Friday, which they won by a 1-0 margin,” stated Ugbade, who captained Nigeria to win the trophy in 1985. “The Iranians are a good side no doubt but with all modesty, we should be able to cope well against them.”
Ugbade said the Golden Eaglets are not being carried away after an impressive first round performance where they scored an impressive 14 goals in three matches, including a 6-1 thrashing of defending champions, Mexico.
“Of course, we are getting better since we defeated Mexico and the boys did well against Iraq on Friday with a 5-0 win but I have no doubt that we would overcome the Iranians if we can correct some specific lapses we have noticed,” Ugbade noted.
In the interim, the Golden Eaglets have arrived safely in Al Ain and were warmly received by the Local Organising Committee as well as staff at the Danat Resort Hotel.
The team will resume training on Sunday after enjoying a full rest day upon their arrival in Al Ain.
“It is nice to be back to our base,” said Tayo Egbaiyelo, the team administrator. “We are a very much at home at Danat.”