Golden Eaglets’ Head coach, Manu Garba (MFR)
Golden Eaglets’ Head coach, Manu Garba (MFR) is upbeat about the chances of his wards in next week’s second round, first leg African Under-17 qualifier against Guinea after the National Under-17 team handed a 4-1 defeat to Leopards Football Club of Calabar on Saturday.
“The team we played today could easily be regarded as the toughest local team since we started camping here in Calabar but you could see that our boys rose to the challenge and we are very happy about this,” Garba said afterwards.
“It was a good test for us ahead of the game against Guinea next week and we are looking forward to our next game in the qualifiers with a great hope.”
Leopards FC, a former National Division Two campaigner provided one of the stiffest tests yet but they eventually crumbled to the superior power of the Golden Eaglets.
The Golden Eaglets started on the offensive from the blast of the whistle and would have been rewarded as early as the fourth minute of the match when Musa Yahaya and Kelechi Iheanacho exchanged sweet double passes only for Success Isaac to nod wide.
Four minutes later, the Golden Eaglets took the lead when Yahaya, who is fondly Kaka after that gifted Brazilian and Real Madrid striker, nodded home a precise pullout from Kelechi Iheanacho.
Leopards that were Cross River State’s Governors Cup winners in 2005 and 2009, responded well and were rewarded almost immediately following a defensive error between goalkeeper Adamu Abubakar and defender Wilfred Ndidi, for the prowling Ukeme Isaiah to strike from 20 meters and the ball hit the post before resting into the net.
The goal did not dampen the morale of the Golden Eaglets as they turned on the heat against their opponents. Leopards soon suffered another setback when Isaac was brought down in the box for a penalty. Ifeanyi Matthew’s kick was parried by Leopards goalkeeper for lurking Isaac to finish up for the Eaglets’ second goal in the 14th minute.