The Golden Eagles are expected to depart the country on Feb. 12 for Niamey, Niger Republic, ahead of the 11th African U-17 Championship scheduled to kick-off on Feb. 15. Musa Amadu, the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) told newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday that adequate security arrangement had been made to escort the team from Sokoto to Niamey.
He said that Mohammed Sanusi, NFA’s Director of Competitions would lead the delegation of 21 players. “Our first game is on Sunday, Feb. 15 against Niger Republic and we are confident that even though Niger is playing at home, we will be able to win this game.
“We know that Niger Republic, just few days ago, played a friendly match with South Africa, which they lost 0-1 in Niamey. “We are trying to get the tape of that game so that we look at how their team is. “We are confident that when we play these three matches in the first round, we should be able to get to the semifinals and that guarantees us a place in the World Cup later this year in Chile.
“Two years ago in Marrakech, Morocco, we lost the final to Cote d’ Ivoire, but we want to go to Chile as African Champions and that is the target and objective of the team.“ According to him, the team’s preparation coupled with the harsh weather condition in Sokoto will be enough to see the team to the end.
Amadu explained that none of the players that failed the Magnetic Resonance Imagery (MRI) test was included on the final 21-man list for the championship. He said: “A group of 60 players were put on the MRI test, which was done at the National Hospital, but a few of them failed.
“Those that failed were not included on the 2-man list, which we have already submitted to CAF since Feb. 7. The Eaglets, who are expected to travel to Niamey by road, have been in Sokoto for nearly 10 days now for the last phase of training in preparation for the championship. The team is expected to be lodged at the Royal Palace Hotel in Niamey.