Young Warriors head coach Collin Benjamin remains optimistic that they can still rejuvenate their campaign by beating Angola in tomorrow’s return leg at the 11 de Novembro Stadium in Luanda.
This is after narrowly going down 1-2 in the first leg of their 2023 U/23 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier on Wednesday.
Benjamin, who also doubles as Brave Warriors gaffer, said the defeat to Angola came with its own valuable lessons for his charges and heading into tomorrow’s second leg clash, he will ensure that all mistakes are rectified.
“I still think we could have won that match but inexperience and lack of match fitness got into play and that cost us the game. Those two things were a bit of a disadvantage for us. We will go back to the drawing board to see where we need to rectify,” he said.
“As the saying goes, the strength of a crocodile lies in the river but we are not in our river. These are circumstances we are in but we are going to take the game to them in the second leg. We still stand a chance to progress to the next round of the qualifiers. What we need is to show a little bit more guts and energy, and the mentality has to be right as well. We still stand a good chance.”
Next year’s U/23 Afcon will mark the fourth edition of one of Africa’s biggest youth football competitions, which will be hosted in Morocco in June 2023. Egypt are the defending champions and Morocco have already qualified automatically as hosts, while the remaining seven spots will be determined by the ongoing qualifying rounds.
The quadrennial championship will also serve as the continent’s qualifiers for the 2024 Olympic men’s football tournament in Paris. Same as previous editions, only the top three teams from the U/23 Afcon will qualify for the 2024 Olympics.