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Football | African Youth Championships

Congo, Nigeria vie for CAN U-17 semis



Nigeria's Golden Eaglets will go up against their Congo counterparts for a last four place at the 2013 African Under-17 Championship at the Stade de Marrakech this Saturday.

Both teams have bright chances of progressing from their group with outright wins after playing two matches apiece.

The Golden Eaglets won their opening game 6-1 against West African rivals, the Black Starlets of Ghana, before surprisingly surrendering all points to Cote d'Ivoire in their second game by a goal.

The Congolese under-17s are unbeaten and at the same time, yet to win a game at the tournament in Morocco after draws against Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana.

For this game, Nigeria will have their squad intact except for the three players disqualified for failing the MRI test.

But Congo will be without defenders Okombi Francis Bogart and Atoni Andrely and this leaves their head coach, Basile Ekariki, with the option of turning to his bench for capable replacement to fend off Isaac Success and his teammates.

Bogart and Andrely are suspended for this game after bagging two yellow cards in previous matches.

Nigeria head coach, Manu Garba, has warned his boys to go for an outright win rather than wait for unnecessary permutations in the event of a draw.

“We don't want to start doing any mathematics or depending on the result of the other match between Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana to know if we are through," he said.

“The players have been told what is required and by the grace of God, we need to win our game and we are through to the next stage.”

Nigeria are second behind Cote d'Ivoire on three points in their group standings while Congo are in third spot with a point less.

Morocco and Tunisia have already sealed their passage to the semifinals and the 2013 Fifa Under-17 World Championship from Group A.

Group B of the tournament remains wide open to the four nations competing but only two teams will qualify for the Under-17 World Cup in the UAE to join hosts, Morocco and Tunisia in the last four.

The Congo versus Nigeria match kicks off 4pm Nigerian time.

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