Manchester City starlet Kelechi Iheanacho has said he hopes the Flying Eagles match the high expectations from Nigerians at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.
The African champions are drawn against five-time winners Brazil, North Korea and Hungary in the first round of the tournament, which starts this weekend.
They play their first match on Monday afternoon at the Taranaki Stadium against Brazil and Iheanacho, who joined the team in Auckland enroute to match venue New Plymouth, said they will go for broke against the team who finished fourth in the South American qualifiers.
“We hope to scale through in our first game against Brazil and go on from there,” he vowed.
“Yes, they have won five times, but that time is past. This is a new generation and a new competition. It will be determined in 90 minutes.
“We have to do well as a team, put in our best for us to beat them because they are also a very good team. And then take it on from there and face the other teams in our group.”
He added: “It will be a very good experience for me and the team as well. We hope we will do much better than we did with the U-17s because we have grown up now and this is another level of football so we have to perfect many things we did not do with the U-17s and play more professionally.”
He missed the team’s three-week training tour of Germany, but he expects his past experience with the squad will come in handy at the World Cup.
“I would have loved to be in Germany with the team, but I encountered visa issues and coupled with my injury, it was not possible to come down,” said the MVP of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which Nigeria won two years ago in UAE.
“I am fit now and I’m ready to go at the World Cup.”