Nigeria and Saudi Arabia U20 squads are at each other’s jugular in Vienna, Austria on Sunday evening as both teams continue to perfect their preparations for this year’s FIFA U20 World Cup finals in Poland.
Both teams were scheduled to clash in a friendly in Jeddah earlier in the year but unforeseen events led to the cancellation. That meeting was meant to prepare seven –time African champions Nigeria for the Africa U20 Cup of Nations finals in Niger Republic in February.
With both teams having qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals, Sunday’s encounter has even higher relevance, only weeks before the World Cup opens in Poland.
The match will take place at the Sportschule Lindabrunn in Vienna, capital of Austria, according to Team Administrator, Aliyu Ibrahim Lawal.
While the Flying Eagles will confront Qatar, USA and Ukraine in Group D at the FIFA U20 World Cup finals, Saudi Arabia will battle things out with Panama, Mali and France in Group E.
In Saudi Arabia, Nigeria will be looking to have an idea of how Qatar set up and do the business on the field, while in playing Nigeria, the Saudis hope to gain knowledge of what to expect from Mali in Poland.
The Nigeria U20 boys, the Flying Eagles got a surprise visitor at their Germany camp when former Super Eagles striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni paid a visit to the team.
Aiyegbeni, who played for Nigeria at the 2000 Olympics in Australia said he decided to visit the team to motivate the players ahead of the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup finals in Poland.
The former Everton and Portsmouth striker was also happy to reunite with his former teammate Wilson Oruma who is the welfare officer of the team.
“I have played in the youth sides for Nigeria and I know what it means to these young lads (the Flying Eagles) to represent their country, ” the former striker said. “It was a pleasure to come here and speak with the boys and also encourage them goes all out and does the country proud.
“I am happy with what I’ve seen in training and I urge them not to rest on their oars. They have the quality to do the country proud.”
Aiyegbeni also applauded the technical crew for the blend of home-based and overseas-based players in the squad. The former Portsmouth striker opined that the blend will do Nigeria good as he also expressed happiness in meeting his former Super Eagles team-mate Wilson Oruma.
“The blend is good and I hope the boys will bond well before the tournament starts. The technical crew has done well with what I’ve seen and I believe Nigeria will go far in the competition. I urge them to win the Cup to celebrate President Buhari’s victory in the last elections. I am also very happy to meet Wilson (Oruma). He’s my former teammate and brother and it is nice seeing him today. I wish the team all the best in Poland and hopefully they win the trophy for the first time,” Ayegbeni added.
The Flying Eagles are currently in Germany for the final leg of preparation for the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup to be hosted by Poland, 23rd May – 15th June.
The Flying Eagles will take on Saudi Arabia U20 team on Sunday, 5th May in their second preparatory game after drawing 3-3 in their first test game against SC Freiburg.