Nigeria U17 coach Manu Garba is confident about the team’s chances of qualifying for the 2019 Africa U17 Cup of Nations but stressed that they must start preparations as soon as possible and with the right players.
The Golden Eaglets will battle Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Niger, Ghana, Togo and Burkina Faso in the zonal qualifiers and only one team can qualify for next year’s tournament in Tanzania from that pool.
”We beat them 6-1 during the African U17 Nations Cup in Morocco, Ghana we beat them 2-0 in a friendly before the Nations Cup qualifiers,” said Manu Garba.
”We beat them at U20 level 2-0 in the semifinals at Senegal. Ghana or any other nation we are not going to be afraid as long as we have the right players and right motivation, prepare the players very well. We don’t fear any team.”
On the other teams in CAF Zone 3, Garba said : ”These are the powerhouses of African football, West Africa has been dominating age grade category. All other teams are as good as qualifying for the Nations Cup.
”Nigeria is rated number one at U17 level, not only in African football but world football so all of them have Nigeria to beat. The most important thing is getting the right players, getting the right preparations and getting the team motivated to go all the way.
”We need to start in good time, we need to put these boys in camp so that we can train them very well. We need to play a lot of friendlies to train them for the task ahead.
”It is very important we start to assemble this team as soon as possible.”
Nigeria is the most successful U17 team in history after winning five World Cups but did not qualify for the last tournament staged in India in 2017 after they were knocked out of the African qualifying race by Niger.