Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria/Mali: Manu Sure of Players' Confidence Ahead Mali Clash

Chief Coach of the national U-17 team, Manu Garba has said the confidence in the team is still high despite the slim 2-0 victory over the junior team of Mali in the first leg of their final qualifier for the 2013 Africa Cadet championship.

Speaking to Feverpitch yesterday as the team prepared to relocate to Abuja for final preparations for the crucial return league in Bamako, the coach expressed confidence that even if they had lost the first leg, his players confidence would have still remained intact.

He said they are not perturbed by the slim victory because there is nothing that will stop his team from qualifying for the championship.

Manu reiterated that even if his team lost the first leg, they would have still gone ahead to win the return leg in order to qualify.

"The slim scoreline as you called it is not a problem to me. We have been scoring more than two goals but that is not to say we are going to lose any sleep because we scored two goals. The moral in the team is high because the players' confidence is still intact.

"I want to tell you that even if we had lost the match, we would have gone ahead to beat Mali in the return leg. We are sure of qualifying for the championship. So we are going to qualify by the special grace of God".

The coach said even as Calabar has become a home for the team, they have to relocate to Abuja because there is no artificial turf in Calabar and the match in Bamako is going to be played on astro-turf.

Coach Manu said it makes no sense training on natural grass when the match proper would be played on artificial turf.

"Our coming over to Abuja is a technical decision. We are going to play the return leg against Mali on artificial turf and there is none in Calabar so we have to relocate to Abuja where there are artificial pitches", he explained.

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