Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: U-17 World Cup - Spain's Nigeria' 99 Hero Tips Eaglets

Pablo Coira, a member of the 1999 FIFA- Un-der-20 World Cup-winning team hosted by Nigeria, has tipped the Golden Eaglets for success at the 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the UAE.

Now working with legendary Michael Salgado at the Spanish Coaching Centre in Dubai, Coira watched the last moments of the Golden Eaglets trainning on Wednesday at the practice pitch of the Dubai Higher College of Technology and even wished the team success.

"I'm sentimentally attached to Nigeria since when we won the U-20 World Cup in 1999 and I was part of the team," said the defender who played along with striker Pablo Couñago,the competition's top scorer as well as Real Madrid's Iker Casillas and Xavi of Barcelona.

The 34-year-old Coira said there was nothing as sweet as winning the World Cup at any level and has pledged his support to the Golden Eaglets since Spanish youngsters failed to qualify for the 15th edition of the U-17 championship.

"I hope you guys would be able to win the World Cup here. For me, it has to be Nigeria and I wish you all the best."

The Golden Eaglets have caught the admiration of many football fans here on a daily basis. A Chinese couple who are lecturers at the Dubai Higher College of Technology brought their kid in tow during one of the team's sessions.

"It is nice to see you guys here and we wish you well during your competition,"they chorused.

The story is not different at the team's Al-Jawhara Hotel camp where fans and lodgers expressively requested for photo sessions. Of particular mention is that of Mr. Sanusi Ibrahim Tunde, Chairman of Oriade Local Council Development Area in Lagos who was excited like a kid on meeting the team at their camp.

"I must take picture with you guys," he said as the camera clicked away. "I'm happy to see you people and wish you well at the Under-17 World Cup."

Meanwhile, the anticipated match between the Golden Eaglets and the AmericanUniversity in Dubai slated for Saturday has been postponed till next week.

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