Nigeria coach Emmanuel Amuneke has predicted “an interesting challenge” in Sunday’s all-African U17 World Cup final against Mali.
Mali won the CAF U17 Championship in March with Nigeria finishing a disappointing fourth.
To reach the final, the young Eagles of Mali beat Belgium 3-1, while Nigeria edged past Mexico 4-2.
“Mali is a good team, Africa’s champion. This is going to be an interesting challenge,” Amuneke said after his team’s scintillating display against two-time champions Mexico
He said the boys are delighted they have a chance to defend the World Cup they won two years ago in UAE.
“It was a difficult match in which both teams did their best. We give credit to Mexico because of their performance and its level of play. We are happy to be in the final and have the chance to defend the world title,” he said.
Mexico coach Mario Artega said they will now focus on a third-place game against Belgium after they failed to put away their chances against the Golden Eaglets.
“We wanted to reach the final but we failed. Of course the team is sad but we have to focus now on the third place match,” he said.
“We know that it would be a tough game, the toughest game in this World Cup. Both teams had chances. Unfortunately we didn’t score, Nigeria did. This was the difference. But that is football. After our equaliser we thought we controlled the game but then Nigeria scored surprisingly.”