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U-17 World Cup: Eaglets handed a tough draw

By Patrick Omorodion & Fidelis Ebu

*Play Germany, Argentina

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets and defending champion of the FIFA U-17 World Cup Friday got a tough draw for the 2009 edition which incidentally is being hosted by the country in eight centres namely Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Calabar, Kano, Enugu, Ijebu-Ode and Bauchi.

The Eaglets who could not qualify for the African Youth Championships in Algeria after being knocked out by little Benin Republic on a 3-2 aggregate will have their hands full in trying to defend the trophy they won two years ago in South Korea under the late coach Yemi Tella when they square up against Germany, Argentina and Honduras in Group A in Abuja.

The Lagos centre will have Lagosians trooping to the Teslim Balogun stadium to catch a glimpse of the Samba boys from Brazil who are to do battle with Mexico, Japan and Switzerland in Group  B while the U.J. Esuene stadium in Calabar will play host to Group C with such teams as Gambia, Colombia, Iran and the Netherlands.

Enugu centre which got accolades from FIFA Vice President, Jack Warner for making the list of centres approved for the competition after an initial disappointment will host Group D teams like Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, New Zealand, seen as the weakest team in this group and Turkey.

The Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano which got some knocks from the FIFA boss over delay in the fixing of the astro turf will host Malawi, a surprise entry from Africa as well as USA, UAE and European power house, Spain.
The last of the Groups, F with Uruguay, Korea Republic, Algeria and Italy will play in Kaduna, another centre that impressed the FIFA inspectors. Bauchi and Ijebu-Ode centres which were not assigned teams are likely to share some matches with Kano, Kaduna and Lagos respectively.


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