The National Under-17 team would begin preparations in earnest for the
forthcoming FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates with the screening of new players in Abuja next week.
The two-week exercise according to Head coach, Manu Garba is to fish
out new talented players to augment the team that nearly won the 10th CAN Under-17 Championship in Morocco last March.
Already players scouted across the country during the break are
expected to report to the NFF/FIFA GOAL Project Site in Abuja on Sunday even as Garba warns that this is not an all comer affairs.
“It is important that we have a look at some new players for some specific positions because what we want is the best for the country,” said Garba, a Gold medal winner at the 2007 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Korea.
“We are really grateful that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has approved our programme towards the World Cup in the UAE and hopefully we are going to get some good players to beef up the team that came second at the African championship.”
It would be recalled that Garba had promised to audit the Golde Eaglets in a post-mortem analysis of the African Championship after his wards were trumped 5-4 on penalties by Cote d’Ivoire following a pulsating 1-1 draw in the finale.
“We are going to fortify the team despite the fact that some of these
players secured us the ticket to the World Cup,” noted Garba, “and we
are going to look for quality replacements before going for the World Cup in the UAE.”
Meanwhile, players picked from the screening exercise would undergo
the mandatory Magnetic Image Resonance (MRI) Test to ascertain if they are within the stipulated age bracket before the team’s close camping ahead of the World Cup in UAE between October 17 and November 8.
– Sola Rogers (Twitter – @solarogers)