Senator Liyel Imoke, the Executive Governor of Cross River State, has charged the Golden Eaglets to go for an outright victory against Mali on Sunday to secure a ticket towards the 2013 African U-17 Championship to be hosted in Morocco.
The amiable Governor who spoke through his commissioner for sports, Honourable Patrick Ugbe, said the Nigerian youngsters must beat the Junior Eagles of Mali on their home soil to prove that their 2-0 first leg win in Calabar penultimate Sunday was not a fluke.
“We have seen what you are capable of doing over time and I’m very proud that you have won all your past matches including the 2-0 victory over Mali the last time,” Ugbe quoted Governor Imoke who is regarded as the team’s No.1 fan as saying.
“You must therefore go a step further by winning your last game in Bamako to show everyone that your victory over the Malians in Calabar was because you are the better side.”
The crucial Sunday game in Bamako has elicited varied interest following the manner the Golden Eaglets outplayed their supposedly bigger and stronger rivals in Calabar.
“Winning football matches is not about size and I want you to get the job done on Sunday by ensuring that you secure the ticket to the African Championship in Morocco in flying colours,” the Governor further stated.
The Golden Eaglets have won all their five previous matches by scoring a remarkable 19 goals and conceded just one. The team rounded off its training at the synthetic pitch of the NFF/FIFA Goal Project site in Abuja on Tuesday brimming with confidence ahead of the battle of Bamako.
“We are set for Bamako and by the special grace of God, we shall secure our qualification to the African Championship,” coach Manu Garba (MFR) said.
“Our preparations have been thorough and the players know what lies ahead of them and we are confident about our chances going for this match and we pray God crowns all our efforts with resounding success.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian contingent to Bamako would depart Abuja for Lagos aboard Arik Airlines Wednesday where they are expected to board a mid day Asky Airline to Lome en route to Bamako.