By Tony Ubani
AS Nigerians come to terms with the tough group handed the defending champions of the U-17 World Cup, ex-international and Nigeriaâ€™s best safe hands, Peter Rufai, has exonerated himself from the fate of the team after he picked European Champions Germany in the log of the Nigerians. Rufai and female football amazon, Mercy Akide, picked Germany and South Americans, Argentina, with Honduras as contenders in Group A with base in Abuja.
But apparently aware of the murmurings of Nigerians, Rufai jokingly told a group of friends that nobody should blame him for the fortune of the U-17 team.
He said jokingly that it was good that he picked Germany instead of picking Spain or Italy. â€œNobody should blame me for picking Germany. After all, there were Spain and Italy in that same pot. Would they have preferred Spain or Italyâ€, Rufai told his friends moments after the draw.
The Golden Eaglets were lodged in Group A against South American giants, Argentina and European Champions, Germany and Honduras in a group that even FIFA vice president Jack Warner acknowledged as group of death, a major hit with both guests and participants conjuring up a number of mouth-watering group-stage encounters.
The Golden Eaglets, who are also the title holders of the competition, will open the tournament on October 24 against Germany and Coach John Obuh said that he could not have wished for more. â€œThere is no minor in football again. Since the draw many people have been talking about Argentina and Germany but I tell you that Honduras should not be under-rated. I truly wanted a good team and having Germany and Argentina will make us sit up. There is no cause for alarmâ€, Obuh who said that the crack opponents would make him tinker with his programmes said.
Twenty four years ago, Nigeria defeated Germany 2-0 to win the inaugural event in China in the JVC/U-16 World Cup with Sebastine Brodrick Imasuen and Christian Chukwu as coaches.