Governor Liyel Imoke
The government of Cross River State is pulling all the stops to ensure that the Golden Eaglets' last 2013 African U-17 qualifier home game against Mali on Sunday would be in a blaze of glory and fanfare as the U. J Esuene Stadium is now undergoing redecoration
General painting of the 10,000-capacity stadium started on Monday and would expectedly be completed before Sunday's crunch game between Nigeria and Mali.
The stadium's manager, Koko Bassey-Omara informed that the Golden Eaglets' game against Mali would not have come at a better time than ahead of the huge annual Calabar Carnival.
“The renovation at the U.J Esuene Stadium would serve dual purposes for the Golden Eaglets’ last game against Mali on Sunday and importantly our biggest annual festival, the Calabar Carnival,” he said. “We have really enjoyed the Golden Eaglets here and it is a pleasant coincidence that the team's last game is coming just before the start of the 2012 Calabar Carnival.”
It was learnt that the His Excellency Senator Liyel Imoke has spared little in ensuring that the U.J Esuene Stadium is at its posh best for the two forthcoming big events.
"Frankly, the Governor doesn't joke with beautification of Calabar and I think it is only fitting that the Golden Eaglets that have been here for this long would see the stadium at its colourful best which is usually the case for the Calabar Carnival," he added.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eaglets' buildup towards Sunday’s game is in top gear as the team finetunes its preparation inside the main pitch of the stadium.
“Our schedule is going well and we now train daily inside the stadium," informed coach Garba Manu (MFR).
“We have few days to the match against Mali and we don't want to overstretch the players."