When Nigeria and The Gambia square up at the Cairo International Stadium at 6pm Nigerian time, it will be a clash of an attacking side facing an ultra defensive team.
Somehow, The Gambia have managed to balance their attacking instinct with air-tight defensive strategy.
So far in the CAF U-20 Nations Cup, they have not conceded any goal. The have all the same scored nine goals – a record they are sharing with Senegal, the country that almost geographically encicle the small English-speaking nation.
They have won all their four matches so far. In contrast, Nigeria have had to pick the ball from their own net once and had scored four goals in four matches.
These statistics may have informed Nigeria’s coach Ladan Bosso’s cautious optimism as the Flying Eagles strive to win the U-20 Cup for a record extending eight times.
Bosso has stressed that there are no small teams in the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations as he prepares to face The Gambia in the semi-finals.
The Flying Eagles secured their last four spot following their narrow 1-0 victory over the Hippos of Uganda in Ismailia’s Suez Canal Authority Stadium.
In contrast, Gambia went goal crazy, battering South Sudan 5-0.
The Nigerians will now take on the Baby Scorpions in their last four last on Monday, seeking a place in the final.
“I’m happy to be back in Cairo once again after we played the last two matches in Ismailia,” Bosso said.
“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 Ladan 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.
“There are no big or small teams in football because it’s only performance and result that counts.”
Defender Daniel Kolocho Bameyi says Monday’s semi-final is very important to the Flying Eagles.
“The match is important for us and winning is very important. We want to win and take the trophy back to our country,” the Yumyum FC ace said
“We are not under any pressure, we enjoy every match and go into each match with new energy and motivation.