The Nigeria Football Federation has tried to reassure Nigerians that the national U-17 team, the Golden Eaglets, will qualify for this year’s Fifa U-17 World Cup finals holding in the United Arab Emirates.
Chairman of the NFF Technical Committee, Chris Green said on Thursday that defeat by the Baby Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire at the Caf U-17 Championship in Morocco on Wednesday has only served to rouse the Nigerian boys to the fact that they are beatable.
“The team had played 28 matches without losing any, before Wednesday’s match. I had faith in them to beat Cote d’Ivoire, but they obviously did not do enough as the sharp edge was lacking and they were not as aggressive as they were against the Ghanaians,” said Green.
“However, I believe this loss has only served to make the team fully mature. The boys have grown up now, knowing they can lose a match if they fail to perform at optimum level.”
Green emphasized that the Manu Garba-led technical crew has been working on the boys to make them forget Wednesday’s loss and concentrate on earning the three points against Congo-Brazzaville on Saturday.
“All we need to do is get the boys to put the defeat against the Ivorians behind them and keep level head and do what they have to do against the Congolese – win. Once we qualify for the semi finals, we take it from there.”
Qualification for the semi finals will earn the Eaglets, 2007 world champions, a ticket to represent Africa at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in United Arab Emirates.