Golden Eaglets coach Nduka Ugbade has dedicated his team’s win against Zambia to members of the Chipolopolo senior men’s squad that died in an air crash in 1993.
The Eaglets got their campaign at this year’s U-17 AFCON off to a good start with a 1-0 win in Group B on Sunday.
Favour Daniel was the hero for the Eaglets as his 77th minute strike sealed the win for Nigeria.
Reflecting on the 30th anniversary of the crash, Ugbade said the Eaglets’ win is dedicated to the Zambian team that lost their lives.
On the evening of 27 April 1993, a DHC-5 Buffalo transport aircraft of the Zambian Air Force crashed into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after taking off from Libreville, Gabon.
The flight was carrying most of the Zambian national football team to a 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Senegal in Dakar. All 25 passengers and five crew members were killed.
“I was a player myself back then and when I heard about the crash I was very saddened because it is a thing that doesn’t happen so often except for the natural ones.
“But that Zambia was able to raise a team after that was a very wonderful thing. So our victory is dedicated to those that died, the ones that are living and those that are representing Zambia in this competition.“
Ugbade expressed happiness that despite the difficult nature of the game, he is happy his team emerged winners.
He added: “Some of the passes that we made weren’t correct but we are talking about the youths, development is the thing we are talking about you would be expecting a lot of errors.
“But I thank God that the game was wonderful, was very difficult for us and at the end of the day we got the victory.“
“It is important you don’t lose your first match because you know youth football is ruled by psychology and not the technicalities or tactical discipline or the physical conditioning put in place for all the information that you give, it’s purely psychological.
So you can see with a lot of wrong passes and shouting on the line, this represents a going forward so that at the end of the day if we can win one more match we are guaranteed qualification to the quarter-final. And if we win the quarter-finals we qualify for the World Cup and we go ahead get into the final and if we can win that we automatically win the trophy.“
The Eaglets will be back in action on Wednesday, May 3rd when they will face Group B leaders Morocco.
The Moroccans defeated South Africa 2-0 in their group opener on Sunday.
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