The Nigeria U20 team will later this evening take on their counterparts from Mali for a spot in the final of the Africa U20 Cup of Nations which is ongoing in Niger Republic.
Ahead of the game, Owngoalnigeria.com takes a look at the five possible ways Nigeria should approach the game if they want to beat their West Africa rivals Mali and progress to the final.
1. Play With Freedom : The Nigerian looked like a team that is playing with their hands on the break with players not entirely free to express themselves. They probably played it safe to progress to the semi-final and also qualify for the World Cup Championship but with that out of the way, they should express themselves better.
2. Make Proper Use Of Set Piece – For a team with players who are above six feet tall. It’s worrisome to see them waste chances from corner kicks and free kicks from promising positions. A proper system on how to utilize the height of the tall players in the squad will no doubt make them deadly from set piece.
3. Full Backs Need To Attack More : Full backs are mainly required to provided defensive duties for their team. However with the way the duo of Mike Zarumma and Ikouwem Utin have combined their defensive duties with forays upfront has caught the eyes. What is however lacking is the final ball and their unwillingness to join the attack even when the opponent’s are defending deep like the game against South Africa.
4. Avoid Conceding First : For a team that is yet to concede a goal in three group games, the biggest challenge which could lead to nerves and panic would be to concede first. The back four of Mike Zaruma, Ikouwem Utin, Igho Ogbu and Valentine Ozornwafor have all impressed so far but all that will count for nothing if they don’t step up against Mali.
5. Score Early : As much not conceding goal is good for the morale of the team, an early goal works wonder to players mentality and approach. The forward quarter of Ibrahim Abubakar Babawo, Nazifi Yahaya, Aniekeme Asuquo and Aliyu Ibrahim must pray for chances to comes their way because in games like this where chances were be lifted.