Golden Eaglets Coach Manu Garba (MFR)
Coach Manu Garba (MFR) has assured that the Golden Eaglets would be better and stronger as the team steps up preparation for its third and final 2013 Under-17 Championship qualifier against Mali in November.
The Nigerian Under-17 team has scored a remarkable 17 goals and conceded one in four qualifying matches against Niger and Guinea; and Garba has revealed that the team would even be reinforced against Mali for better performance.
“We have said repeatedly that this team is still work in progress and the players in camp know that none of them is guaranteed a place in the team,” Garba said after the 4-0 win against Guinea in Conakry on Sunday. “There are even some good players who have passed the mandatory Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test and we are going to bring some in order to fortify the team for our next game against Mali.”
Adding some fresh players notwithstanding; Garba maintains absolute confidence in the capability of his wards in crossing the Malian Rubicon after the West African country dispatched Mauritania 6-3 on aggregate at the weekend.
“The mentality of our players is strong and it is tuned towards just one thing: winning,” Garba confidently said.
“There are four things that should be the hallmark of a good team and I tell you that our players have already tremendously showed them. These are commitment, composure, concentration and confidence, and that is why it is always difficult for our opponents to match us.”
The Golden Eaglets returned from Conakry on Monday, departed Lagos on Tuesday for their base in Calabar to begin earnest preparations for their third round-first leg game against Mali at the U.J Esuene Sports Stadium on November 18.
Meanwhile, Ganaeka Ibrahima, Guinea’s petit goalkeeper, has admitted Golden Eaglets superiority following the Junior Syli Stars 7-0 aggregate lost to their Nigerian counterparts in the 2013 under- 17 qualifiers.
It was Ibrahima’s agility over the two-legged matches, that stopped the Golden Eaglets from recording a double figure score line but he only had words of praises for the Nigerian conquistadors!
“The Nigerian team is good and have good quality," Ibrahima, who was adjudged the best player with some instinctive saves during the first leg in Calabar, said through an interpreter.
“They played good football and it showed when we played them in Nigeria and here in Conakry."