Golden Eaglets line up before their match against the Junior Menas of Niger
Principal members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in Niamey at the weekend have hailed the sparkling performance of the self-styled New Nigeria Golden Eaglets following their 4-1 defeat of Junior Menas of Niger in the 2013 African Under-17 Youth Championship qualifier played on Saturday.
On a day the National Under-20 Women’s team faltered in their bronze medal match at the FIFA World Cup in Japan and the Super Eagles hard-earned 2-2 draw in Monrovia, the Golden Eaglets gave Nigerians and indeed NFF officials on their entourage to Niamey something to cheer about with their near flawless display.
“The truth is that we have heard and read so much about the new Golden Eaglets but this is the first time I’m seen this team and I’m truly delighted about your performance today (Saturday),” said Alhaji Muazu Suleiman, a board member of the NFF and leader of the delegation to Niamey.
“This is the best Under-17 team I have seen in recent years. We would use this as the prototype for Nigerian football and I’m confident that this is a team that can take Nigerian football to a greater heights.”
He further praised the players for their sturdy perseverance despite some poor officiating particularly that controversial penalty awarded in favour of the Junior Menas.
According to Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, the Director of competitions at the NFF, the typical fine display of the Golden Eaglets is like a sweetened drug: “I’m totally overwhelmed with the performance of this team against Niger today. This is a good team in the making and my recommendation to Nigerians is that if you want to see good football, go and watch the national under-17 team.”
Similarly, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme who has seen the Golden Eaglets on several occasions at their base in Calabar said he was not the least surprised about their enchanting display against Niger.
“You know I’m happy watching this team but today, I’m happier because one of the programmes put in place by the NFF is working,” said Ikpeme.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eaglets are expected back in Abuja Monday morning aboard Asky Airlines en route to their camp in Calabar on Tuesday to continue preparations for the second leg against Niger to be played on September 22.