Nigeria’s quest for an eighth African U-20 Nations Cup title will face a litmus test today when the Flying Eagles meet The Gambia team that is full of goals and ambition.

Nigeria managed a 1-0 defeat of Uganda in the quarterfinals after Group A victories over Mozambique (2-0) and Egypt (1-0) plus a 0-1 defeat by Senegal in their first game of the competition holding in Egypt.

Their opponents, The Gambia, on the other hand, defeated Tunisia I-0, Zambia (2-0) and Benin Republic 1-0 in Group C before demolishing South Sudan 5-0 in the quarterfinal. They and Senegal are the only teams without defeat so far in the competition.

Aware that his boys will face a well-organised side, whose main weapon is their potent attack, Flying Eagles Coach, Ladan Bosso, says he knows how to neutralise everything the Gambians would throw at them.

According to Bosso, “previous results will not determine what happens in our semifinal match against The Gambia. They have been in great form and my boys have also recovered well and are in their elements. It will be a great match, but I believe in my team and we are confident of playing in the Final on Saturday.”

Although in pedigree, The Gambia is rated far below Nigeria, Bosso acknowledges that there are no more minnows in football, including the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations.

He told CAF media, yesterday: “I’m happy to be back in Cairo once again after we played the last two matches in Ismailia. Tomorrow we will face The Gambia, who are a strong team and we respect them well but we will work to present a good level to win.

“We lost the first match and we have not lost any match since then.”

The Flying Eagles last won the tournament in 2015 in Senegal and Bosso wants to replicate that feat and secure their eighth continental crown.

“We will face a team that has not been defeated in the tournament,” Bosso added.

“The most important thing for us in the tournament is that we qualified for the World Cup. Now we will fight to win the title.”

Also speaking on the semifinal clash with the Junior Scorpions, defender Daniel Kolocho Bameyi, said the game is very important to the Flying Eagles.

“We want to win and take the trophy back to our country,” the Yumyum FC star said.

“We are not under any pressure, we enjoy every match and go into each match with new energy and motivation.”

Also previewing the game, The Gambia’s Coach, Abdoulie Bojang, said he expects a tactical battle against Nigeria.

“It is going to be a tactical battle,” Bojang, who was named the Best Coach of the group stage, said. “We will respect them and put up a respectable performance on the pitch tomorrow.

“As I always said, football is beyond what is on paper. You can get all the records but what I believe is what can we produce during the 90 minutes of play.”

This will be the first meeting between the two sides in 16 years when Nigeria beat the Young Scorpions in Brazzaville to qualify for the final.

“Nigeria is the only team standing between us and the final. We want to be champions and that can only happen when we beat a champion,” Bojang said.

“We are a committed team but we must do everything we can to win and reach the final.”

In Adama Bojang, The Gambia has a striker capable of wrecking any team. Bojang scored a hat-trick for Gambia, as the West Africans romped to an emphatic 5-0 victory over South Sudan to seal their spot in the semis.

Aware of the different type of opposition Nigeria poses against his team, Bojang, who plays for Steve Biko FC, said they have been preparing for the battle of Cairo International Stadium.

He said: “During the qualifying tournament in Mauritania, I only played two matches, so I could not express myself.

“In this tournament, the situation is different and I am trying hard to show my true level.”

The Gambia and Senegal are the only teams to win all their matches without conceding a goal.

Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has appointed Libyan, Abdulrazg Ahmed, as centre referee for the game. He will be assisted by Hamza Bouzit from Algeria (assistant referee 1) and Abdoul Moctar Saley from Nigeri Republic (second assistant referee), while and Jalal Jayed from Morocco will serve as fourth official.

Boutane Said from Comoros will serve as match commissioner and Imade El Fahouss from Morocco will be general coordinator.

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