The Flying Eagles led by coach Ladan Bosso will be one of the favourites to lift this year’s U20 AFCON title in Egypt.
However, there are some factors which should stop this team from going all the way.
1.Will They Freeze In Egypt’s Cold?
It is currently winter in Egypt, where this tournament will be played, and questions are being asked whether the sharp change of weather the Flying Eagles could adversely affect their performances.
However, officials have assured that a week-long training stint in Morocco, who enjoys similar weather conditions with Egypt, would have prepared the team adequately for what they will experience at the tournament.
2.Antics Of Host Nation
Egypt are desperate to host and win the U20 AFCON.
They have also showed this desperation by manipulating the opening day fixtures which will now see them open the competition against Mozambique and not against Senegal, who many consider as one of the top teams in Group A.
The Flying Eagles must therefore be wary of whatever tricks the host country will pull off against them when they both clash in Match Day 2 on February 22.
Only the top two teams are guaranteed qualification to the quarterfinals of the championship.
3.Will The Flying Eagles Suffer From Over Confidence?
This team have achieved an unbeaten record of 19 matches since they won the U20 AFCON WAFU B qualifying series in Niger in May.
A further breakdown of this record showed they scored 86 goals and let in just 10 goals.
They have also won 18 of these matches with only the test game against NPFL side Nasarawa United ending in a draw.
Both Zambia and Congo, who will feature at the U20 AFCON, lost to them in warm-up matches.
They therefore cannot afford to let their guard down in Egypt as all 12 finalists have the ambition to do well.
4.Failure To Take Their chances
The Flying Eagles are an entertaining and purposeful side, but they have sometimes failed to put away the many chances they create.
For example, they ought to have buried Congo with goals by halftime but for wastefulness in front of goal.
However, in the second half they fought back from a goal down to win 2-1.
Even against Zambia, they could have run up the scores than the 4-2 win they posted but for poor marksmanship.
5.Group of Death
They are drawn in the toughest looking first round of the U20 AFCON after they were not seeded for this edition of the competition.
They therefore have to fight their way out of this group against hosts Egypt, Senegal and Mozambique.
The Flying Eagles cannot afford any margin of error as this could come back to bite them.
The upside to being in ‘The Group of Death’ is that if they get out of it, they will most likely be up against less intimidating teams in the knockout rounds of the tournament.
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