By John Egbokhan, Abuja
Golden Eaglets coach, John Obuh has said that his charges have become strong contenders to retain the FIFA Under_17 World Cup, which enters its semifinal stage, tomorrow in Lagos.

Speaking after leading his troops to a deserved 3_1 victory over Korea Republic in a quarterfinal fixture decided on Monday at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar, coach Obuh said that he was happy that his players have progressed well with each game that they have so far played and hopes that the trend would continue for the better when they face Spain in the second semifinal match slated to hold at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

“In the weeks leading to this tournament, I talked about the short time that I had to prepare this team for a tournament, which other teams had used about two years to also prepare for. I was not too comfortable with the period for grooming these players and I naturally felt that it was not going to be easy, even though, I promised to do my best.

“But as the games started, the players have been picking up. They have been doing well and I feel that they are now strong contenders to lay a claim to the trophy. I am not promising anything but I know that these players are determined to do their nation proud and their form has been encouraging”, added Obuh.

While not offering much on what to expect against Spain, Obuh said that he is devising a plan to ensure that Nigeria qualify for the final on Sunday.

“We have been through many upsets but I know that we are not ready to exit the competition at this stage. It is going to be tough but we have to work hard to ensure that the boys are in the best frame of mind to give their all against Spain and we hope for the best”, said Obuh.


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