The Nigerian youth team are preparing for an African tournament to hold in March.
Nigeria’s Flying Eagles were on Saturday in Abuja held to a goalless draw by their Benin counterparts in a warm-up game preparatory to the African Youth championship in Algeria.
The Flying Eagles played a man short after 63 minutes when a defender, Ikechukwu Okorie, was sent off for dangerous tackle.
“We will do well at the AYC. We are just preparing for the tournament,” assured Nigeria skipper, Abduljaleel Ajagun, after the game played at the FIFA Goal project in Abuja.
The host team, who played out a 1-1 draw when both teams first clashed in September, started out brightly and created some openings.
Left back Kingley Madu let fly a low pile driver after six minutes, and after 27 minutes Umar Aminu’s header from inside the box was saved by the impressive Benin goalkeeper, Ariston Hessou.
Madu had another attempt at goal on 34 minutes, before skipper Ajagun missed just before the interval.
Benin’s best chance was three minutes after the break when Nigeria-born striker, Ezekiel Okotou, forced Flying Eagles goalkeeper, Jonah Usman, to save his goal-bound shot.
Benin, who paraded as many as six Nigeria-born players, took control of the game soon after Okorie was sent off. Ajagun missed the biggest chance of the game when, from inside the box, he fired wide in front of an open net a minute earlier.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Nigeria created the better chances especially in the dying moments of the match
The Flying Eagles are now scheduled to depart Abuja on Monday afternoon for two warm-up games against the Egypt U20 in Cairo. The first match will be played on February 20 with a second game two days later.
They will then embark on a three-week training camp in Tunisia before heading to Algeria for the tournament, which kicks off on March 16.