By: Abdulquadir Adedapo
Vice-Captain of the Golden Eaglets, Yahaya Lawal has maintained that the team would be 100% ready for Tuesday’s semifinal clash against Ivory Coast as they seek to pick one of the two slots to represent the region ahead of the AFCON U-17 in Algeria next year.
The Mahanaim FC youth prodigy has been one of Coach Nduka Ugbade’s trusted players in both attack and defense and has started both games for Nigeria so far in Cape Coast.
With the Eaglets already securing a first-place finish, Yahaya said the boys have prepared so well and will not underestimate the Ivorians despite seeing them lose to Burkina Faso.
“Yeah we are excited to have gotten to this stage of the competition, the goal for us is to first qualify for the Nations Cup proper and then try and win the tournament.
“We know everyone expects us to win against Ivory Coast cause of our form, but we know they will be a very difficult side, they scored 10 goals in 3 games so for us we must be wary of their attacking threats.
“The coaches have passed the right instructions to us and I believe with our training and the games we have played so far we can overcome them and limit their attacking chances in the semifinals,” he concluded.
The right-back has already distinguished himself so far in the tournament and can confidently operate also as a left full-back and a wing-back, technically good on the ball and is very good with his tackles. His energy level is second to none and it enables him to join the attack with ease and can equally track back almost immediately.
Despite suffering going down 2-4 against Burkina Faso, the Les Petit Èlèphants progressed with a superior goals difference as the six goals they scored against Niger were enough to see them edge out both the Benin Republic and Niger on goal difference with all three teams finishing of 3 points each.