Garba Lawal, former Super Eagles' midfielder, has spoken glowingly about the Golden Eaglets good run in the 2013 African Under-17 qualifiers, insisting that the team under the aegis of coach Manu Garba (MFR) has proved critics wrong.
“You guys have been doing great and I’m particularly impressed with the standard so far shown by the players," stated Lawal, Nigeria’s star performer at the 1998 World Cup where he scored a superlative goal in the 3-2 victory over Spain.
"I'm so happy with what I have seen of the players so far and everybody would agree with me that these boys have done well!"
The erstwhile coordinator of the national Under-17 team commended the Golden Eaglets' crew for blooding talented young players even as he advised the team to be focussed as they approach the final qualifying matches against Mali.
“I think the critics would have seen by now that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) meant well for our football with the calibre of players in the team and we can see that these players are about the youngest Under-17 team we have in recent years,” Lawal further explained.
“As I said before now, we all need to rally behind this team because they are the future of Nigerian football and I’m confident that they would eventually qualify for the tournament in April.”
Nigeria failed to qualify for the last two editions of the African Under-17 Championship hosted by Algeria and Rwanda in 2009 and 2011 respectively but Lawal has confidently tipped the present team to break the country’s duck.
“All eyes are now on the Golden Eaglets but I’m certain that they would qualify for the next tournament in Morocco and be amongst the contenders. I wish the team the best against Mali,” he added.