The Golden Eaglets’ Coach, Manu Garba, says his super-charged side that opened its CAF 2013 Under-17 Championship finals in Morocco with a superb show against Ghana, will qualify to play in the World Cup after today’s duel against Cote d’Ivoire.
“This team is not a finished article at all, there are areas which need working on. It’s work in progress and although I have said before that this team is better than the one that won African and World titles in 2007, there is still more to come from the side,” said Garba.
Cote d’Ivoire is next in line to face the Nigerian juggernaut and the Baby Elephants have been saying they will not try to match the Nigerians in open play, but would come up with response to the overwhelming firepower possessed by the Nigerians.
Cote d’Ivoire would have noticed Ghana’s marginal success via the wings against Nigeria and would be looking to capitalize on that in Kouassi Begbin, and Junior Ahissan, the Baby Elephants, have some skillful and enterprising wingers in particular, the latter whose dribbling ability was a menace to the Congolese throughout the match last Sunday.
But whatever mischief the Ivorian forwards will be looking to bring to the Nigerians, it will perhaps be a fraction of what their midfield and defence will expect from Success Isaac, Bernard Bulbwa, Taiwo Awoniyi, Musa Yahaya, Kelechi Iheanacho and company at the other end.
The marauding Nigerians attack ceaselessly and from everywhere and bring so much threat from literally every player all this combined by intricate and beautiful football.
“There would be not let up from our victory over Ghana; we are looking to seal semi-final and World Cup qualification after our second game. Our approach to football matches, be it an international, friendly or otherwise remains the same, we play to win and it will be the case against Cote d’ Ivoire” said Garba.
“The last match is gone and behind us now, today we start all over again and we need to win again, that what l have told my boys,” said Garba.
The Golden Eaglets’ coach was full of praise for the work that is going into youth football on the African continent and said he had been impressed with the football he had seen so far in Morocco finals. Garba said, “I expect West African sides to do well at this competition as a testimony to the strength of youth teams from this region. Despite our win over them, I expect Ghana to battle it out with Cote d’Ivoire to emerge from this Group with us for the semis.”
For Garba, the mission is to remain focused on the ultimate goal and not get carried away by results after each game. “We are targeting the nine (9) points from the three (3) group games and then carry on from there onto semis and finals.” After such an authoritative and commanding performance, there are not many who would bet on The Golden Eaglets reaching the final.