CAF U-23 AFCON: Captain Okechukwu Hopeful Of Qualification (AUDIO)

Olympic Eagles skipper Azubuike Okechukwu says he is hopeful Nigeria will overcome their Sudanese counterparts when both sides clash in the return leg of their CAF U-23 AFCON qualifiers at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on Tuesday.

The Nigeria U-23 side led by Imama Amapakabo lost 1-0 to Sudan in Omdurman in the first leg of the encounter on Thursday, however, the Istanbul Basaksehir midfielder remains confident that the Dream Team VII will overturn the deficit in Asaba and advance to the U-23 AFCON in Egypt later this year.

“I think we will win the game, for me, we are hopeful and we’ve been training very hard for the past two days,” he said.

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“We lost (the first leg) actually, but then the weather was hot and everything. But by God’s grace, tomorrow we are going to come out and do our best.”

Amapakabo’s men will need to score at least two un-replied goals against Sudan to progress, and despite failing to hit the back of the net against the North Africans in the first leg, the former Bayelsa United player maintains that the team is capable of scoring goals in Asaba as they did against Libya in the previous round.

“I trust the players actually, and I think we can keep our calm.

“It’s a 90 minutes game, so if we don’t get the goals in the first half, we will definitely get in the second half like in the last game (against Libya) we played here in Asaba. So by God’s grace, we’ll do our best,” the 22-year-old said.

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Defending champions Nigeria will advance to the 3rd Africa U-23 Cup of Nations holding in Egypt from 8th to 22nd November if they eliminate Sudan.