Flying Eagles led by skipper Musa Mohammed have vowed to will get their FIFA U-20 World Cup campaign back on track with a win in Thursday’s Group E clash against North Korea after a loss to Brazil.
The African champions fell 4-2 to five-time champions Brazil in their opening group game on Monday.
“We wish to apologise to Nigerians that we lost to Brazil, but we will make it up against North Korea. We will win on Thursday,” said skipper Mohammed.
“We have spoken to ourselves and you will see the result in our next game.”
Manchester City starlet Kelechi Iheanacho said he expects a tougher resistance from the Koreans after they also lost their opening game 5-1 to Hungary.
“It won’t be easy against Korea especially after they lost so woefully to Hungary, but we also know we need to win, no matter the margin,” Iheanacho said.
“Good enough the loss to Brazil does not mean the end of our campaign in New Zealand.”
Goalkeeper Joshua Enaholo said he will not dwell on his mistakes against Brazil as his focus is now on Thursday’s game against North Korea.
“Yesterday is in the past. We are now all looking ahead to the next game on Thursday,” said the goalkeeper, who was voted the best goalkeeper at the African Youth Championship in Senegal in March.
The Flying Eagles have put behind them the disappointment from the loss to Brazil and Tuesday morning’s training at the Manukorihi Park was highly spirited.
However, striker Isaac Success, who on Monday became the first Nigerian player to score against the South Americans at this level of international football, and Ifeanyi Matthew stayed out of the training.
Success complained of tightness on his hamstring, while Matthew is nursing a left foot injury he suffered in the Brazil clash.
Giwa FC goalkeeper Olorunleke Ojo was outstanding as an outfield player for the second team as he dished out some long-range passes.
The team will have their final training for the Korea match on Wednesday morning.
Tuesday cheer for the squad came when they enjoyed a meal of pounded yam and vegetable soup provided by Auckland-based James Rotimi and his family.
Rotimi from the school of engineering AUT University drove down five hours with his wife, Funmi, and their three children to serve the Flying Eagles a delicious lunch.
“My wish is that we get this type of lunch all the way to the end of the tournament,” dreamed defender Izu Omego, who has struggled to adapt with the dishes served in both Germany and New Zealand.