Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets Chief Coach, Manu Garba (MFR) believes his players would deliver the goods when they play their last Group F match against Iraq
at the Al Rashid Stadium in Dubai on Friday.
Speaking at the official match conference held at the stadium’s Media Centre on Thursday, Manu said the Eaglets are battle ready to face the Iraqis who are seeking their first win in the history of the competition.
The Golden Eaglets go into the match as the top team in Group F after a 6-1 win over defending champions, Mexico and a hard-fought 3-3 draw against Sweden, but Manu said the Nigerian youngsters would be hard to beat for Iraq.
“We have no other way than to win our game against Iraq and Insha Allah (by the Grace of Allah), we are going to win,” Manu said.
“We respect Iraq but we are going to do everything in our capacity to win this match because our objective is to do very well at this championship.”
Manu would further dismissed the erroneous impression that the Eaglets often struggle against stronger oppositions as it happened against a stoic Swedish side on Wednesday and not forgetting the loss to Cote d’Ivoire at the CAN U-17 in Morocco last April.
“You judge a team with the amount of chances they create and I disagree with the impression that we struggle against well organised teams,” he maintained. “We always do our best and even at the CAN U-17, we scored 18 goals compared to Cote d’Ivoire that scored five goals.”
Talking specifically about scoring goals, Manu said he has in his team, several players who can fill the void created following the loss of star striker, Isaac Success due to injury, adding that the Eaglets would cope well despite the obvious setback.
“Success had a scan and it is unfortunate that he would not be available against Iraq,” said Manu. “But we have other players who can do the job and a good example is Taiwo Awoniyi who scored the equaliser against Sweden.”
Speaking later to Iraq TV, Coach Manu said he has great respect for the Iraqis but maintained that the Eaglets would have the upper hands on Friday.
“I respect the Iraqi team because they play good and possessive football but we would show them on Friday that we are slightly above them,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi would be in command of the Match Number 33 between Nigeria and Iraq at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai on Friday.
He would be assisted by Elenito Di Liberato and Gianluca Cariolato; the fourth official is Ken Hansen from Denmark.
The Golden Eaglets would put on Nigeria’s favourite green colours, while the Iraqis would be in their traditional white jerseys.