Nigeria’s cadet national team, Golden Eaglets coach, Manu Garba has declared that his squad will be ready to take on all comers next month at an invitational competition in Turkey.
Garba’s side will travel for the build-up competition in Turkey early next month, as they commence preparations for the 2019 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations in Tanzania.
Garba, who won UAE 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup with the like of Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Sunday Dele Alampasu and Isaac Success in his squad, but failed to qualify for the 2017 edition won by England, said his latest squad be ready before Tanzania 2019 begins on April 14.
Nigeria are in Group A, alongside Tanzania, Angola and Uganda, ahead of which the Eaglets, who won the world title in 1985, 1993, 2007, 2013 and 2015, will be in Turkey next month for a build-up competition.
The record extending five time Cadet World Cup winners reached for the U-17 AFCON by emerging winners of the West African Football Union (WAFU) Zone B qualifiers in Benin Republic, and Garba expects his side to go all the way to glory in Tanzania and reach the World Cup in Peru.
Although he admitted that his players are yet to reach optimum fitness levels, after recently returning to camp in Abuja, Garba says they will be ready physically, tactically and technically to shine in Turkey.
Garba disclosed: “We are just into a week in training and I can say we are more than fifty percent set in aspect of techniques and tactical ability.
”As for physical fitness, we are still a bit behind. That not withstanding, we are trying to meet up with everything.
“We want to make sure we get to at least eighty percent level of fitness so that we can give our best in the preparatory tournament in Turkey.
”The ultimate is to go to Tanzania, qualify for the World Cup as African champions, Nigeria being the best at U17 level.
”These are our aspirations. I happen to be one of the coaches that have two World Cup medals.
“God willing, we will raise a team that will make Nigeria proud by qualifying for the World Cup as African champions.”
Nigeria Can Learn From South Africa’s U-20 Squad
Nigeria’s youth national team, Flying Eagles surely have a lot to learn from the South African squad that beat them via penalties in the third place match of the African U-20 Cup of Nations in Niger Republic.
This is the verdict of Amajita coach, Thabo Senong, who is reflecting on the factors that led to his side’s qualification for the FIFA U-20 World Cup and third place finish at the U-20 AFCON.
En route to nicking bronze in Niamey, Amajita first drew goalless with Nigeria during the group stage, and played out yet another draw with the seven-time champions in the losers’ final, before silencing them via lottery of penalties, but Senong says their victory was well deserved.
He was full of glee, as the squad returned from Niamey on Wednesday, much to the delight of football fans at OR Tambo International Airport, and Senong hailed his players for their achievements.
The Amajita gaffer also reeled out huge contributions from South Africa Football Association (SAFA) in making his youth team’s success possible, especially in ensuring they got to the championship venue very early.
Senong said: “To enjoy the challenge within guided principles, within our game plan, this group of boys have achieved it.
“Well done to them. They were good ambassadors off the field and they were also good ambassadors on the field.
“So, we managed to achieve two objectives – represent the country well off the field and also represent the country very well on the field.
“Thanks to everyone, their parents, clubs, managers and coaches for their cooperation, and of course on our side, well done to SAFA.
“We were the first country to arrive in Niger besides the hosts because the objective was to train and adapt, get used to the conditions and get used to the food.
“When we started our first match, the players felt at home, against all odds, against a crowd – that was very important.
“I told the boys; ‘if you want to go to the World Cup, don’t lose the first game and make sure the worst result is a point.
“They are young and still developing. They grew with every match and they learned a lot because it’s all about them and progression.
“Eighty per cent of this team was capped at U17. They wrote a story as the fourth generation of Amajita players to qualify for the World Cup.
“Thanks to all the stakeholders involved, we’ve always received support. For me personally, I will always thank SAFA.
“I will always thank the president for giving me the opportunity to guide this special group to be part of the history of South African football.”