The Golden Eaglets have stepped up their preparations towards the upcoming 2013 CAF Under-17 World Cup qualifier against Niger at the practicing pitch of the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar.
Head Coach Garba Manu informed that the team would be training twice daily to boost the fitness and proper conditioning of the players even as another official has asked Nigerians to pray towards the team’s success. .
“It is nice to be back in Calabar and we want to thank Senator Liyel Imoke, the Executive Governor of Cross River State for ensuring that we are back to our familiar ground,” Manu said.
"We are training twice daily for now and we are sure the boys would cope well irrespective of the fact that some of them, who are Muslims, are observing the mandatory Ramadan."
Manu, who was part of the successful team that won the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2007, said he was not oblivious of the task ahead, saying it is proper to ascertain the fitness of the players before going to other training schedules.
Meanwhile, Suleiman Abubakar, the team's coordinator has enjoined Nigerians to be patient as officials begin the strenuous work of building a solid team
He said that having the core of the team back after the mandatory Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) means that all the efforts of the past months have not been in vain, adding that it has buoyed the morale within the rank and file of the team hence reasons to be hopeful.
"The excitement in the camp is visible and the fact that we have almost all our key players back after the MRI test means we are taking off from where we stopped during the last closed camping," said the ebullient Abubakar.
"We implore Nigerians to be patient with us because we are desirous of doing a good job. We need all their support and prayers too."
This is the third phase of the Golden Eaglets’ programme as they intensify preparations to break the country's duck of non-qualification for the African Under-17 Championship in recent times after missing out of the 2009 and 2011 editions hosted by Algeria and Rwanda respectively.
While the team’s first phase of the program ended last March with the screening of about 3000, the second-phase closed camping of 40 players was rounded off early June.