African U-17 Qualifier: Golden Eaglets to tackle Mali at 2:00pm

Owing to logistics reason the Nigeria U17 side will engage their West African brothers about two hours earlier than the normal time
The peculiar tight flight schedule within the West African sub-region has again forced the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to change the kick off time for the Golden Eaglets’ Sunday’s U-17 African Championship qualifier against the Junior Eagles of Mali to 2:00pm

The match earlier billed for 4:00pm at the U.J Esuene Sports Stadium in Calabar was shifted to 2:00pm so that the Malian delegation could return to Bamako via Lagos as scheduled on Monday.

It would be recalled that a similar reason was responsible for a similar 2:00pm kick off time against Guinea last month but the Golden Eaglets still ground out a convincing 3-0 win despite the harsh weather condition.

The temperature in Calabar at present oscillates between 25oC and 30oC with a maximum temperature of 31oC expected on Sunday afternoon according to local weather forecast.

Consequently, the Golden Eaglets have adjusted their training session in order to acclimatize ahead of the 2:00pm kick-off time. The team’s medical doctor, Dr. Ayodeji Olarinoye has assured that the players would be able to cope despite the expected dry condition.

“The good thing is that we have a bunch of experienced coaches and they have actually made room for any change in our training programmes as we are experiencing now,” stated Olarinoye.

“All the players we have in camp are match fit and in good spirit too so they should cope with the weather because they are already used to the weather in Calabar.”

In a related development, Head coach Garba Manu has already told the players to brace themselves up for the Malian challenge, adding that no sacrifice would be too small on their parts to ensure outright victory on Sunday.

“We are playing at 2:00pm on Sunday and that means we must be battle ready,” Garba told the players after the team rounded off training after midday on Wednesday.

“It is good so we shouldn’t have any worry playing at any time because we have been training over time during bad and good weather condition,” Garba added.