By Jacob Ajom
Chief coach of  the Golden Eaglets, John Obuh, has assured that the team will be returning to Abuja tomorrow with a ticket to the final of the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup by beating Spain in today’s semi-final showdown in Lagos.

HISTORY BECKONS ••• Eaglets celebrate after winning the final against Spain at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007. The final took place in Seoul on Sunday, 9 September. Victory over Spain today will keep hope alive.

The coach who briefed the sporting media yesterday said he was optimistic on the chances of his team reaching the final but was conscious of the hurdle posed by Spain whom the Eaglets defeated by penalties to clinch the title in Korea two years ago.

He dismissed fears that the all important tie might be decided through penalties. “We intend finishing the game within regulation time. I am looking forward to winding up the game in 90 minutes. But if it results in penalties, we are ready for anything,” he said.

Coach Obuh expressed delight that the encounter which begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere will provide Lago sians the opportunity to see the progress the team have made since the commencement of the competition.

“It would have been unfortunate if we did not play in Lagos before the end of the tournament. We intended to tour the whole country because everybody wants to see us play.

“We started from Abuja to Bauchi, then to Calabar and now we are in Lagos. It would have been sad if we did not come to Lagos because Lagos fans have a peculiar way they handle teams. If you do well they will tell you and if you don’t do well they register their anger immediately. So the match against Spain will really show them the progress we have made so far.”
Assessing the performance of the team in the tournament, Obuh said “the competition has been a huge success as the  boys have been able to compete among the best and acquitted themselves.”

When asked about the team not using most of the chances that come their way, the coach said the team have done well in that department despite the catalogue of missed chances. “My team is one of the highest scoring sides in the tournament.

The records are there but we are working on their psychology. You will see the improvement and I assure you we will do better when we play Spain,” he said.


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