This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria/Mali: Morocco 2013 - Manu Allays Fears Over Mali

Coach Manu Garba (MFR) has reiterated that the Golden Eaglets would be at the ready to face the Junior Eagles of Mali in the final round qualifier for a place at the 2013 African Under-17 Championship to be hosted by Morocco.

With the November 18th first leg game around the corner, the Golden Eaglets have intensified their build up and Garba is confident that his wards would scale the Malian hurdle.

"We know what we want and we are working steadily towards securing the ticket for the 2013 African Under-17 Championship," Garba said.

"Everything is well on course and we are confident about our chances against Mali. Whatever we have done recently is in the past, our focus now is the first leg game here at home in Calabar."

The Junior Eagles of Mali qualified for the final round of this qualifying tournament with an impressive 6-3 aggregate win against Mauritania following a 5-1 win at home in Bamako despite losing 2-1 earlier away in Nouakchott.

Consequently, Garba said it is imperative that the Golden Eaglets win well at home since the Malians could be a hard nut to crack in front of their home fans judging by their record against Mauritania.

"Perhaps, our first leg game against Mali at home is going to be our biggest test yet and we are going to give it our best shot in order to make the second leg a mere formality," added Garba.

Assistant coach, Nduka Ugbade was more forthcoming even as he revealed the new mantra in the Golden Eaglets' camp!

"We have a new slogan here and it is very simple: The Golden Eaglets would collect the serial number of the 2013 African Under-17 ticket in Calabar and go to Bamako two weeks later for the ceremonial presentation of the ticket," enthused Ugbade.

"Our preparation is well on course and we remain focussed about the objective we had long set for ourselves which is, to qualify for the African Under-17 Championship in Morocco in grand style."

Meanwhile, the 30 players in the Golden Eaglets' camp are fighting seriously to be part of the squad for the November 18th D-day with words rife from the coaching crew that nobody is already guaranteed an automatic shirt despite their recent individual brilliant performances!

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