BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
Nigeria’s Flying Eagles face the Hippos of Uganda on Thursday at the Suez Canal Stadium in Ismaila, Egypt.
The winner qualifies for the 23rd edition of the FIFA U-20 World Cup that will hold in Indonesia.
The setting presents some favourable historical memories for Nigeria. It is at Ismaila that Enyimba first won the CAF Champions League for Nigeria 20 years ago.
This is now where the Flying Eagles will attempt to pick their 13th Under 20 World Cup qualification. For Uganda, it will be their first ever qualification if they beat Nigeria.
At the under 20 level, this will be the first ever encounter of Nigeria and Uganda. Will the city of Ismaila again bring good fortunes to Nigeria?
It was at this city that the Nigeria U-23 team had their biggest win ever when on 23 September 1991, they mauled Uganda 8-1 in the group stage of the football event of the All Africa Games.
They made hays early. From the second minute, the team handled by James Peters, was already a goal up through John Zakari who was commonly known as John Zaki.
The player later scored again against Uganda in the 28th and 80th minute to complete his hattrick.
Also on the scoresheet in the encounter were Patrick Mancha who had a brace just as did Emmanuel Amuneke. Tijani Babangida and Jide Oguntuase scored a goal each.
Thirty two years later, will Nigeria again win and with a big margin too? So far the Flying Eagles have been lethargic in their offensive, scoring three goals in three group matches.
But the Ugandans too have not faired better. They scored four goals in three matches and also conceded three thus having a credit of just a goal.