The chief coach of the U17 national team has echoed the need for his players to raise the level of their game if erring players do not want to be shown the exit door.
Nigeria U-17 coach Manu Garba (MFR), has warned his wards to be more dedicated to his training methods if they want to make the squad to the Caf U-17 Championship in Morocco.
The national U17 team resumed camp in Calabar after almost two months of break following their qualification for the African Junior Championship with some obviously struggling with their form.
But after two weeks of conditioning and light training, Garba in a frank discussion with the team on Sunday said only fit and battle-ready players will be picked to represent the country at the forthcoming African Under-17 Championship in April.
"The last two weeks have been good and has given us the chance to ascertain the fitness of the players," Garba said. "Of course, it's expected that some would have lost some ground but we expect more from them.”
He reiterated that only the best players will eventually be picked from the 30 jostling for the available 21 slots for the continental cadet competition.
"Our objective remains the same, to qualify for the World Cup as African champions as such, we are going to pick the best players that would give us the desired result.”
In a related development, Garba said that the door is finally closed for screening of players for the Morocco-bound Golden Eaglets. Apart from the 30 players officially invited, some uninvited youngsters who came to the Saint Patrick College training ground were given the opportunity to display what they are capable of doing. The 2007 World Cup-winning coach said he is now satisfied with what he has seen because ‘time is no longer on our side.’
"There is no hanky-panky about our team's selection and that is why we have been transparent enough to allow those uninvited players to train with us," he said." But the door is finally closed and hopefully we can do this again after our qualification for the World Cup if we need reinforcement."