.Says Saturday Opener Is Final Before Final
Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach, Manu Garba has declared Saturday’s game against Mexico as the final before the final despite the fact that this is just the teams’ opening game at the 2013 UAE FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
Speaking against the backdrop of meeting the defending champions, Manu said it was the Mexicans that should be wary of Nigeria because of her rich pedigree at this level.
” With all due respect, I think it is the Mexicans that should be afraid of playing us because we are a top side at this level ,” Manu said at the official press Conference held inside the Bin Zayed Stadium. “The first game is crucial in any tournament and we are going to play Mexico like a cup final.”
Manu said history favours Nigeria as the likely team to become a record fourth titlist having won on three previous occasions on Asian soil.
“We feel very much at home here in the UAE because Asia is home away from home for us,” said Manu, a World Cup winner in 2007 as an assistant coach to late Yemi Tella.
“We won in China for the first time in 1985 and also in 1993 in Japan, so we consider Asia as a traditional place for us. Of course, we are going to do our best and Insha Allah (by the grace of God) we shall be victorious,” maintained Manu.
Also speaking at the media conference, Striker Chidera Ezeh said the Golden Eaglets are rearing to go having acclimatized well in the Gulf State.
“We are getting the right information from our coaches about the Mexicans and we have really settled down in UAE because we came into Dubai two weeks ago,” he said.
Moments after the press conference, the Golden Eaglets had a feel of the Bin Zayed Stadium where they will play the Mexicans. Coach Manu descried the training on the lush green grass of Al Ain FC which is the home ground of the famous local club as very good, adding that few lapses noticed would be corrected before the match on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eaglets would round off their training on Friday morning at one of the practice pitches at the Al Ain FC Stadium.