A confident Coach Manu Garba led the first group of persons who applauded the Eaglets, saying they are now ready to steamroll their way and win a record fourth Under-17 World Cup title, after a 4-1 thrashing of Iran at the Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on Tuesday.
Three goals in the first half by Samuel Okon, Kelechi Iheanacho and captain Musa Muhammed and another by Musa Yahaya in the second half, sealed Nigeria’s berth in the quarter final and a date with Uruguay in Sharjah on Saturday.
“I said earlier that my attack is blistering and I still maintained that it would be difficult for any team to stop us from scoring because our team love scoring goals, “said Manu at the post-match conference.”
With 18 goals in four matches, the Golden Eaglets now have an average of 4.5 goals per match and Manu said there are still many more to come: “We don’t pretend we are an attacking team though there are still few errors but we are going to correct them as we progress .”
Manu said he has no reason to change his tried and tested coaching style, adding that the best form of defence is to attack, he maintained in the flash interview immediately after the match.
“I always want my team to attack and I would always improvise because this is a team where anybody can score.” He said he rated the players eighty per cent for being able to score four goals in a match ‘of this magnitude’ which is a knockout stage of a World Cup.
Manu though, has some harsh words for Iranian coach, Ali Doustimehr for casting aspersion on the eligibility of his players.
” All the players we have here passed the MRI test and we even conducted another round one month before we came here and we would probably take on the Iranian coach on this,” he noted, allaying fears over Iheanacho who copped an injury soon after scoring the second goal against Iran and his fifth in the competition.” It is a minor injury and Iheanacho should be back for the next game.”
Also, Nigeria Sports Minister, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, commended the coaching crew of the National Under-17 team for moulding a team that Nigerians are proud of.
The Golden Eaglets remain the toast of the fans following an excellent campaign by reaching the quarter finals in an excellent style.
The Minister in a telephone conversation relayed to the team hours before their Second Round Match against Iran on Tuesday, further advised the team not to rest on their oars in their quest for a record fourth title in the FIFA U-17 World Cup.
“We are impressed with what you have done so far and I must commend the crew for being able to put together such a good side”, said the chairman of the National Sports Commission via a telephone facilitated by Alhaji Aminu Maigari, President of the NFF.
” You have done well so far but you must continue to do your best in order to win the trophy.” Erstwhile Vice President of the NFF, Chief Amanze Uchegbulam equally
spoke in the same vein, even as he counselled the Eaglets not to play to the gallery, advising the players to pay attention to their coaches’ instructions.
“You have done a very good job and I salute all of you, Manu, Amuneke, Ugbade, Amadi and rest of the crew,” said Uchegbulam.”
Kindly, impress it upon the players not to get carried away with all the cheers from the fans when they are on the pitch.”
Both Coach Manu Garba (MFR) and Golden Eaglets’ Vice captain, Success
Isaac took turns to assure that the team would do everything humanly possible to be crowned champions on 8 November.