The Flying Eagles battle hosts Guinea Bissau in Bissau on Saturday in the first leg of their Niger 2019 U-20 African Cup of Nations.
Nigeria drew bye into the second round of the qualifiers and will have to scale the Guinean hurdle to reach the final round of qualifiers before they get a place in Niger 2019.
The match holds at the September 24 Stadium in Bissau with the return leg holding in Port Harcourt next week. Guinea defeated Sierra Leone in the first round to book a place against Nigeria.
According to the Nigeria Football Federation, Flying Eagles coach Paul Aigbogun departed the country on Wednesday with 20 players for the clash against the Guineans.
Some of the players are Plateau United forward Peter Eneji, who was a part of the home-based Super Eagles team to the Morocco 2018 African Nations Championship, and El-Kanemi Warriors defender Solomon Ogberahwe.Israel-based goalkeeper AkpanUdoh is the only overseas-based player on the 20-man Flying Eagles squad.
However, according to Score Nigeria, Guinea, who are coached by EmilianoTe, are expected to feature nine overseas-based players in their team for the match.
Aigbogun is wary of the threat posed by the West Africans.
The coach said, “We failed to qualify for the last edition of the tournament and we can’t afford not to make it this time around. Nigeria have a rich pedigree at this level and it is important we maintain it and not tarnish the record.
“We have prepared hard for the game against Guinea Bissau and we don’t see them as a small opposition but a strong one. The team is already taking shape and we are ready for the game.”