Nigeria Football Federation officials say the national Under-17 team, chasing the African title and the FIFA Under-17 World Cup ticket in Niamey, Niger Republic will receive their full cooperation to enable t hem achieve their goals.
The team coached by former Nigeria international, Emmanuel Amuneke will leave Sokoto for Niamey today as concerned football enthusiasts questioned the plan to have the Eaglets’ travel by road.
NFF director of competitions Mohammed Sanusi who was in Niamey to prepare grounds for the arrival of the team said that the Eaglets will have a conducive atmosphere to pursue their ambition in the tournament that begins on Sunday February 15 and ends March 1. The Eaglets are drawn in group A along side the hosts, Zambia and Guinea.
“The Nigerian community in Niger Republic is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Golden Eaglets, the world champions. They have promised to give the Eaglets maximum support to go all the way and win the African trophy, which will serve as a launch-pad towards retaining the FIFA U-17 World Cup title in Chile later this year.”
Former Super Eagles coach Joe Erico wondered why the team has to cover the 621 km distance by road and 520km by air.
“The security situation in the country is not right to put the kids out on the road to Niamey no matter the consideration for the choice.
“The rule outlaws such mode of transport not only for international but internal competition where the distance is as great as 200km.
“As a father I can’t hand over my kid to undergo such a traumatising road trip even for service to fatherland.” But NFF spokesman, Ademola Olajire dismissed such fears. “We have already explained why the team had to go by road.
“There is no flight from Sokoto to Niamey. Our officials have plied the road severally and there is no fear of attacks, the route is safe and besides we have made provision for adequate security for them.”