This Day (Lagos)

4 September 2007

Nigeria: S'Korea 2007 - We Fear Nobody - Eaglets

Lagos — Barely 24 hours to their crunch FIFA U-17 World Cup semi-final tie against Germany, Nigeria's Golden Eaglets insist they harbour no fear against the clinical Europeans.

The Germans turned on the style in the quarter-finals to outclass England 4-1 in Goyang City on Sunday, sending out a strong message of their ability to take their chances.

But rather than be overawed by impressive form of their opponents, the Eaglets are rather looking at their own strengths, which they believe is good enough to take them to the final.

Team captain Lukman Haruna said: "We suffer no apprehension. We do not fear any team. This team has been together for long, and believe in ourselves so much, that we don't think any other team can rattle us. "It will be a great game, but we'll win."

Haruna has been excellent in the competition and will be relied to impose himself on the midfield once again to stifle the Germans' offensive play.

Team coach Adeyemi Tella added: "By the Grace of God, we'll overcome. I have faith in my God and in my boys."

The tournament's leading marksman Macauley Chrisantus has become a 'beautiful bride' as every journalist covering the competition wants to talk to him. Sometimes, I have to wake him up from sleep. But he doesn't mind. This comes with success."

But the player in question, Chrisantus, is still keeping his feet firmly on the ground and has not let it get into his head.

"My goals are gifts from God. I also have to praise my team-mates for the support all the time. They make it happen for me. We enjoy a bond among ourselves and the faith is strong that no team can beat us here. Nigeria is the name written on the Cup".

The second semi final clash between Nigeria and Germany at the Suwon World Cup Stadium on tomorrow evening (7pm Korean time and 11am Nigeria time), is a recast of the 1985 final match of the same competition that the Golden Eaglets won 2-0 in Beijing's Workers' Stadium.

On Monday, as the team arrived at their new abode of La Vie D'or Resort and Country Club, a 19-floor hotel on the outskirts of Suwon, ex-international Adokie Amiesimaka, who is here as member of the Rivers State delegation, urged them not to under-rate the Germans.

"We have to be careful not to give them too much space. I have confidence that we will defeat them because we Africans have a way of unsettling German teams with our unpredictable style. They play by the textbook, and we can surprise them."

Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Barrister Abdulrahman Hassan Gimba will lead a high-powered Federal Government delegation to Seoul for the final match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, should the Eaglets beat Germany in tomorrow's semi final.The minister, who is expected to arrive with a sizeable contingent, will be hoping to land his first global trophy only two months after taking office.

Golden Eaglets had and are expected to have their first feel of the Suwon World Cup Stadium this morning at 7.30am.

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