Leadership (Abuja)

1 December 2012

Nigeria: African U-17 Championship - Golden Eaglets Go for AYC Ticket

Photo: Steven Depolo/Flckr.com
Soccer balls.

Nigeria Golden Eaglets will tomorrow in Bamako, the Malian capital take on their Malian counterparts in a decisive second leg 2013 African Under17 Championship qualifying match.

The Nigerian side won the first leg played at the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar, the Cross River State capital 2-0.

The team only needs to avoid conceding more than a goal to their hosts to pick one of the tickets to the biannual eight-nations championship in Morocco next year.

The Golden Eaglets will play the match under protest as the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) despite Nigeria's victory in the first leg, wrote a petition to CAF alleging that the Malian players are more than 17 years of age. But the team handler, Garba Manu is not giving anything to chance, insisting that his boys will go for another victory in Mali in spite of their West African foes physical advantage.

Speaking to newsmen before his team left for Bamako on Thursday, ahead of the match, he said his wards have the magic wand to outdo their hosts and clinch the Morocco 2013 ticket. "We never met the Malians before the first leg in Calabar and despite the fact that they looked twice the age of my wards we were able to defeat them 2-0. I can assure you that we know how to handle them in Bamako.

Meanwhile Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has assured that adequate security arrangements have been made for the clash in view of the political crisis in Mali. NFF media officer, Ademola Olajire, told newsmen in Abuja during the week that the Nigerian government was already in contact with Malian government over the safety of the team.

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