Qatar's Maroons Hope To Pluck Flying Eagles Feathers
By Iwedi Ojinmah 4 months ago
After months of preparation, the rubber will finally meet the road when Nigeria takes on Qatar in their first game of the U20 World Cup in Poland. Considering the pedigree in this Group D ( the two other teams are the US and Ukraine) both coaches have underlined the importance of winning this initial game.
We pretty much know the Nigerian team inside out so we will now focus on the Maroons, as the Qatar team is called.
Coached by Portuguese coach Bruno Miguel Nogueira Pinheiro who replaced the Spaniard Félix Sánchez Bas, the Asian Champion is loaded with talent which is mostly homegrown. Out of the 21 players 18, all play in Qatar and are graduates of a slew of outstanding Academies which includes Aspire Academy which was founded in 2004 to develop homegrown athletes.
Ironically coach Bruno Miguel Nogueira Pinheiro is also the head coach at the Academy so there is certainly continuity there when it comes to instruction.
His other three stars, Goal Keeper Salah Zakaria , midfielder Abdollah Ali and defender Homam Ahmed all play for Eupen in Belgium. So again they know each otherRelated: Brazil Eye Senegal And Nigeria For October Double-header In Singapore .
Qatar will be making their fourth FIFA U-20 World Cup appearance at Poland 2019 after making their debut in 1981 when they finished second. They hosted the competition back in 1996 but they bowed out at the first round and they had a similar outcome twenty years later when they finished at the bottom of group C in New Zealand 2015.
So there are certainly no new kids on the block.
Their big gun will be Abdulrasheed Umaru (above) who plays for Al-Ahli SC in Doha. The nimble forward who wears number 7 is literally a goal-producing machine. At the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship, he scored seven outstanding goals including a brace in quarter-finals clash against Thailand.
Paul Aigbogun's back four better be aware of this lad at all times as he has a tendency to switch wings or get lost only to reappear and introduce himself in a dangerous and annoying way.
The Nigerian team, on the other hand, has settled in nicely in Tychy despite the unfortunate racial harassment of its Media Officer Andrew Randa by skins heads on the very first day of arrival.
Date: Friday, May 24th
Venue: Tychy Stadium, Tychy
Game Time Weather: 17 °C Precipitation: 20% Humidity: 70% Wind: 13 km/h