Nwankwo Kanu, erstwhile Super Eagles captain, is bullish that the Golden Eaglets would scale the Malian hurdle to qualify Nigeria for the African Under-17 Championship for the first time since 2007.
The Golden Eaglets take a 2-0 goal advantage to Bamako in two weeks time against a supposedly big and obviously older opposition but Kanu said he is not confident the Nigerian youngsters would not be overawed by the Junior Eagles of Mali.
"If we are talking about size, Mali should have ordinarily defeated the Golden Eaglets today (Sunday) but winning matches is not about how big you are," Kanu, said after watching the pulsating encounter.
"Despite the size of the Malians, the Golden Eaglets were still able to play their usual passing game and were just unlucky to have scored just two goals."
Kanu, a star of the 1993 Golden Eaglets that emerged champions at Japan'93, said he hinged his optimism on the premise that the current national Under-17 team is blessed with players who could be match winner any day!
" Alhassan Ibrahim, the Number 8 for instance, can wreck the Malians and he was just unlucky today because he should have scored more than a goal," he reemphasized. "They just need to relax and play their usual style and I'm confident that they would beat Mali in Bamako," added Kanu.
Similarly, Hon. Patrick Ugbe, the Cross River State Commissioner of Sports, has also tipped the Golden Eaglets to eventually qualify for the 2013 African Cadet Championship to be hosted in Morocco.
"This is about the best team that Nigeria is building at present," Ugbe said matter-of-factly.