2015 AYC: Upbeat Flying Eagles battle Ngorongoro Heroes

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Nigeria’s Flying Eagles will take on hosts Ngorongoro Heroes of Tanzania in a 2015 AYC qualifier on Sunday, while praying it does not rain on the day.

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It has been raining for the past week here in Dar es Salaam, but weather forecasts suggest it would be sunny on match day at the National Stadium.

The Flying Eagles have had a first feel of the National Stadium pitch, which has an even grass and is soft and muddy because of the rains.

“You have to add some power to the pass if not it could hold it back from its intended target,” said assistant coach Nduka Ugbade.

“The pitch is okay but should it rain, we would need to play with hard-stud boots,” said Kelechi Iheanacho, who led several other players like Izu Omego and Joshua Enaholo to shop for new boots Friday morning.

Tanzania U20 assistant coach, Mohamed Ayoub, was also at the Flying Eagles first training, but must have been hugely disappointed as the Nigeria U20s did not play a two-a-side game for him to pick up some key points about the visiting team.

The Flying Eagles, on the other hand, are armed with a comprehensive dossier on their opponents after NFF technical officer Rafiu Yusuf, who watched Tanzania hold hosts Kenya to a goalless draw last month.

The report said the Ngorongoro Heroes have a good and compact defence, but they are not great shooters in front of goal as they prefer to work the ball into the net.

It was also noted that they parade a creative midfield with some gifted players.

Flying Eagles coach Manu Garba has made it very clear he wishes to win well in Tanzania so that the return leg in Nigeria a fortnight later would just be to fulfill all righteousness.

He therefore wants to add more force to the attacking partnership of Alhassan Ibrahim ‘Mu-azam’ and Taiwo Awoniyi he started in a 1-0 loss in Benin last week.

Manchester City youngsters Kelechi Iheanacho and Chidiebere pepped up the strike force in Cotonou when they were introduced in the second half and they are likely to now start in midfield on Sunday.

Match tickets are 2,000 Tanzanian schillings (about 200 Naira) for the cheap seats and 5,000 schillings for the VIP stand.

Kick-off is 4pm local time, which is 2pm Nigerian time.

Match officials are from DR Congo led by Jean-Jacques Ndala Ngambo. The other referees are Oliver safari Kabene, Nabina Blaise Sebutu and Mupemba Ignace Nkongolo.

Match commissioner is Antoine Ralph Danny from Seychelles.