Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach, Manu Garba (MFR)
Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach, Manu Garba (MFR) is confident that his team would eventually overcome the Junior Syli Stars of Guinea and progress to the final round of the African Under-17 qualifier after Sunday’s 3-0 win at the UJ Esuene Sports Stadium in Calabar.
“By our own high standards, we should have scored more goals but over all we are happy that we have won the first leg,” Garba said during the post match interviews. “Of course, we know that the further we go into the qualifiers, the tougher the opponents. The Guineans are a good side, we have seen them today because this is their own first game in the qualifiers but I’m confident about our chance when we meet them in Conakry.”
The Golden Eaglets completed a fine weekend for Nigerian football with a 3-0 win against a determined Guinean side in their second round-first leg 2013 African Under-17 qualifiers. The victory of the youngsters came on the heels of Super Eagles’ passage to the 2013 African Cup of Nations Cup following their superb 6-1 win over Liberia on Saturday.
The Golden Eaglets could have emulated the Super Eagles with an identical high margin win, but poor marksmanship as well as the heroic display by Guinea’s diminutive goalkeeper Ganaeka Ibrahima denied the Nigerian team of such opportunity.
Goals from Success Isaac, Kelechi Iheanacho and Alhassan Ibrahim saw off the gritty Guineans in front of an ecstatic home fans including Governor of Cross River State , Senator Liyel Imoke, Chairman of the Senate Sports Committee, Senator Adamu Gumba, Chairman of House Sports Committee, Hon. Godfrey Gaiya, NFF President, Aminu Maigari as well as members of his Executive Committee and Management.
The Golden Eaglets signalled their intention to win the game as early as the second minute of the game when Isaac got a through pass from Bernard Bulbwa only to shoot wide. Other notable misses in the early part of the game was that of defender Mustapha Abdullahi who found his way into the box but failed with the last kick. Both Isaac and Ifeanyi Matthew’s shots in the 13th and 15th minute were parried away by Ibrahima.
But he was not successful in the 26th minute when Alhassan Ibrahim ghosted past his markers and sent a pass which was perfectly converted by Isaac for the Golden Eaglets’ first goal.
Determined to frustrate Eaglets, the Guineans tightened the midfield while mounting occasional forays into the opponent’s half and the fans had to wait till the tail end of the first half before Iheanacho added the second goal in the 44th minute.
Expectedly, the Guineans continued with their stout defending on the resumption of the second half and there were few chances for the Golden Eaglets to do damages. It took some ingenuity on the part of Isaac and Ibrahim to break the resolve of the Guineans when after an interchange of passes, the latter finished off with a fine shot for the Eaglets final goal in the 60th minute.
“We would be fine against Guinea in Conakry,” Garba further assured. “Guinea would have to score four goals without conceding any but we are a team that can score goals anywhere.”