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U-17: MRI won’t stop Eaglets — Obuh

Nigeria Under-17 team coach, John Obuh, has expressed confidence that the country will put up a credible performance at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, despite a recent age cheating scandal in which 15 members of the squad were discovered to be above the age allowed for the competition.

eagles jubilating after a match
eagles jubilating after a match

Nigeria will stage this year’s tournament from October 24 to November 15, but sceptics have said the country’s chances of successfully defending the crown they won in 2007 have been compromised by half the squad’s disqualification.

“The recent age test is a good thing and a welcome idea which everybody appreciates. We have to get together and work a lot harder. We are still very positive about achieving success at the World Cup,” Obuh told Goal.com.

“I am optimistic that if the boys put up the same fighting spirit they showed in some of our friendly games, especially against the Flying Eagles [the national Under-20 team] recently, I am sure this episode will not affect our overall performance in the tournament.”

He added, “The team is not 100 per cent yet. We are just past the halfway mark and hopefully before the World Cup we should be close to our full potential.”

In the meantime, the Nigeria U-17 team, known as the Golden Eaglets, are set to embark on a European tour that will see them engage top countries like England and Austria in warm-up games.

“We are scheduled to play friendly matches against Uruguay, England, Austria and Gambia. We expect to leave the country this weekend,” said Obuh.Nigeria are drawn in Group A of the U-17 World Cup, along with Argentina, Germany and Honduras.


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