The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has urged the technical crew of the Golden Eaglets to remain steadfast in their bid to build a virile team to qualify the country for the 2015 CAN Under-17 Championship even as Nigeria seek to defend her 2013 FIFA Under-17 World Cup title.
Speaking to officials and players after Friday’s penalty-shoot out loss to Benin at the WAFU B Tournament, Alhaji Yussuf Fresh, a board member of the NFF said he was satisfied that the team gave its best but for ill luck in the crunch semi-final match.
“I want to tell from the bottom of my heart that you did well despite the fact that you didn’t beat Benin,” said fresh, the leader of delegation to Togo.” At least, this tournament has given you the opportunity to know areas that you need to work on as you prepare the team for the coming African qualifiers.”
He equally advised the players to concentrate on their third-place match against Mali on Sunday in order to have something to show for their good efforts at the tournament.
He said: “There is still something to play for on Sunday and I want you to give out your best in the third place match. The NFF’s President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari as well as Nigerians would be so glad if you can go home with at least the bronze medal.”
Fresh further reassured the technical crew of NFF’s continuous support to the team, adding that they should remain focussed.
“As I told you earlier, the NFF is not going to interfere in your work in as much as you are doing the right thing and I would therefore, want you to be focussed since the African qualifiers is just around the corner,” he noted.
Similarly, former international and special assistant to Alhaji Maigari on technical matters, Mr. Patrick Pascal equally commended the players and officials, advising them to remain calm despite the setback at the WAFU B Tournament.
“My advice to you is to look ahead because you can’t change the result against Benin and I want to plead with you the players especially not to start blaming yourselves,” he stated.
“Your objective should be how to qualify for the completion in Niger and the World Cup and I believe strongly that you will make it.”
Meanwhile, Prince Udofia, the mercurial Golden Eaglets’ coordinator, believes the Nigerian youngsters would shake off their Friday’s semi-final loss to Benin when they meet Togo in the third-place play off at the WAFU B Under-17 Tournament in Togo on Sunday.
The game would be decided at 3:00pm local time (4:00pm Nigerian time) at the Stade Municipal before the finale between Benin and Mali.