Head coach of the dream team VII Imama Amapakabo is banking on SD Huesca mid fielder Kelechi Nwakali to help the dream team VII secure the U-23 nations cup African cup of nation ticket after a 1-0 loss to Sudan in the first leg of the final qualifying round.
Amapakbo boys will have to will by at least two goals without conceding to secure a spot at the 2019 U-23 AFCON in Egypt and also to keep their Olympic qualification hopes alive.
Nwakali who played a key role in the first round win against Libya, missed the first leg and only linked up with his teammates in Asaba camp on Sunday.
Speaking to news men after the team’s training session on Monday Imama said: ”Kelechi missed the first leg in Omdurman because he was sorting some contractual issues at his new club. We are happy he is with us here in Asaba, and I believe his presence on the pitch will be a big worry for the Sudanese,” Imama told reporters after the team’s training session on Monday.
It is the second time Nigeria will need to overcome an away deficit in the qualifiers after having to come back from 2-0 loss to Libya in the previous round.
The head coach further stated that his players are very focused on the task at hand and are determined to scale through the hurdle.
“We have to keep our heads up. We trail by 1-0, but we have a team that can overturn that and qualify for the main competition,” Amapakabo said.
“We lost concentration in the 42nd minute of the game and the Sudanese scored with their only second shot of the game. We had our chances which we failed to convert. ”
The dream team will not only need to qualify for the AFCON but also be needing to be amongst the top three if they want to feature at the 2020 Olympic tournament in Tokyo.