Eaglets training at Stade Mamadou Konate in Bamako, Mali
With a two goal advantage and two weeks of intensive preparations in Calabar, Abuja and Bamako, coach Manu Garba (MFR) has said that the Golden Eaglets will make hay and sun under the sunny Bamako weather against Mali on Sunday to qualify for the 2013 African Under-17 Championship.
Sunday's game between the Junior Eagles and Golden Eaglets at the Stade Mamadou Konate will kick off at 3:30pm local time(4:30pm Nigerian time) with Guinean officials led by 34-year-old Ahmed Toure to take charge as the centre referee.
Coach Manu ha said that his wards would take over the reins of the match from the blast of the whistle as no quarter would be given to the Malians.
The Malians attributed their 2-0 loss a fortnight ago to fatigue occasioned by poor travel arrangement as well as peppered sauce in their food in Calabar but Garba has enthused that the Nigerian young guys are desirous of rubbing pepper to the Malian’s injury!
“Football is not magic but scientific and it was obvious that we were the better side when we met in Calabar but that is immaterial now," Manu said after being pressed to preview the match.
"Our objective remains the same: win all our qualifying matches and by the grace of God, we shall overcome Mali.”
Garba will most likely field an identical starting line-up with the main stay of the team being goalkeeper Adeyinka Adewale, Friday Njengo, Mustapha Abdullahi, Izu Omego, Musa Mohammed, Wilfred Ndidi, Jide Idowu, Ifeanyi Matthew, Ibrahim Alhassan, Kelechi Iheanacho and Success Isaac.
These lads have secured five victories in as many qualifying matches and Garba is hopeful that a six record victory is within the reach of the Golden Eaglets.
Said he: "Sunday's match is our life jacket and the players are very much aware of this that we must beat Mali. The match against Mali is more than a match for us because it opens the gate to many things for these boys and we would do everything possible to qualify."
A capacity crowd is expected to watch the match following a clarion call by the Malian Football Federation to the locals to get behind the team during its 41st General Assembly which incidentally took place in the conference room of the Hotel Columbus on Saturday.