Eaglets not afraid of any team, says Amuneke

Golden Eaglets battling with Congo during the qualifiers for the African U-17 Championship. The team will face Croatia, USA and Chile in Group A of the U-17 World Cup.                        PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Golden Eaglets battling with Congo during the qualifiers for the African U-17 Championship. The team will face Croatia, USA and Chile in Group A of the U-17 World Cup. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

Golden Eaglets coach, Emmanuel Amuneke, believes in the ability of the national U-17 side to surmount every opponent at the forthcoming FIFA Cadet World Cup scheduled for Chile later this year.

Nigeria is in the same opening round group (Group A) with the host nation, Chile, Croatia and USA.

Amuneke told The Guardian yesterday that all the players in his team’s camp were poised to face the challenges expected at the championship, adding that the Eaglets still have two months to study their group opponents and also work on the technical side of the team.

He revealed the fact that the Golden Eaglets were defending champions had made it imperative for the coaches to select only quality players for the World Cup.

“My task is to raise a formidable team Nigerians would be proud of at the World Cup. Being in the same group with Chile, USA and Croatia is no big deal because for a nation to win a world championship, the team must fight hard to win all it matches. We are ready for any team. My boys are in high spirit and preparations are in top gear ahead of the World Cup,” Amuneke said.

Also sharing Amuneke’s optimism is the coach, who led Nigeria to victory at the 2013 edition of the U-17 World Cup, Manu Garba.

Nigeria holds the enviable record of four titles in this category with victories in 1985, 1993, 2007 and 2013, and Garba, who was instrumental to the last two successful campaigns, believe the class of 2015 can go all the way yet again.

Reacting to the Chile 2015 World Cup draw that pitched Nigeria against host Chile, Croatia and USA, Garba reckoned the Golden Eaglets under his former assistant, Emmanuel Amuneke would have to gird their loins.

“It’s not an easy group,” noted Garba. “Chile is the host and South American teams are always good.”

He continued: “Croatia is part of former Yugoslavia along with Serbia that just won the U-20 FIFA World Cup in New Zealand, which shows their football culture is good and USA plays with aggression. But they all are up against Nigeria, four-time World Cup winner and the No. 1 ranked team at that level.

“I’m very optimistic that with good preparations and motivation, we can qualify from this tough group and go all the way to excel and I wish my dear country good luck in Chile,” added Garba.

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