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AFCON 2019: Crisis Looms As Eaglets Abandon

With less than three weeks to the start of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations Championship in Tanzania, Golden Eaglets coach Manu Garba says Nigeria Football Federation has abandoned the team adding that without the conduct of the MRI test, he cannot say he has a team yet.

Two-time world champions, Manu Garba expressed dissatisfaction with the way Nigeria Football Federation is yet to organise and conduct MRI test for the players to determine which one will be dropped and those that will make the final team list.

In an interview with the coach, he said: “Obviously we have players who have not got the opportunity to play that can make the team to Tanzania, that is after the MRI.”

“We don’t know who is who now until after the MRI has been conducted, why I didn’t give those new players a chance to play is the fact that all the players that played today for us have passed the MRI before and we are sure at least 90 percent will go to Tanzania.

“I must say that there are a lot of players that can displace some of the players that played today.

“This team can only get stronger with the inclusion of those players, I’m talking about especially in the offensive and midfield sector.”

The two time FIFA U-17 World Cup winner says his team has been abandoned by the Nigeria Football Federation.

Garba says the NFF are yet to conduct the compulsory MRI test for his players and that this is holding back their preparations.

“We have submitted our list to the Federation, we are just waiting for the Federation to give us the date but it appears we are getting behind time because we are expected to submit a provisional list of 25 players two weeks before the first game.

“We have more than 20 players that are capable of displacing some of the players on the ground, like I said earlier it’s MRI that will decide first.

“Remember before we went to Niger, we had several unverified players and we don’t know if they are going to be retained.

“That’s why we want the MRI to be done, so that we can know the players we have on ground, the MRI is really holding the team.”

The MRI tests are expected to cost the Nigerian Federation around N4 million and the NFF are well known for giving less attention to the junior national teams.

As part of their preparations for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria U-17 male team, Golden Eaglets on Wednesday beat Kaduna based Mutunchi Academy 7-0 in a friendly played at the Abuja National Stadium.

 

About Ayeni Wale

Olawale Ayeni, is a Media and Communication Arts, Masters in view fellow, a graduate of Theatre Arts from the University of Abuja respectively, has been in journalism right from his school days. He was a sports broadcaster with Osun state Broadcasting Corporation (OSBC). He was Sports Editor, Daily Stream Newspaper before joining Leadership Newspaper as Sports Correspondent. A lover of grassroots sports development and golf. A strong support of Arsenal FC.

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