Abuja - The U-17 National team, the Golden Eaglets have arrived in Doha, Qatar, on a three-week training tour ahead of the 2013 African Youth Championship (AYC), an official said.
This is contained in a statement issued on Thursday in Abuja by the team’s spokesperson, Morakinyo Abodunrin.
The statement said that the team had settled down in Aspire Academy Centre as part of its preparation for the continental championship.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the AYC is billed for Morocco from April 13 to April 27.
The statement said that a team of 26 players and 10 officials accompanied by the Director, Aspire Football Dreams, Nigeria, Col. Sam Ahmedu, departed the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Wednesday afternoon for Doha.
It said that the team, which left aboard Qatar Airways, touched down at the Massive Doha International Airport at 11:15 p.m. local time (9:15 p.m. Nigerian time) after a six-hour non-stop flight.
According to the statement, the weather temperature on arrival in Doha was 22°C, which is about the expected condition in Morocco in April.
It quoted the team’s Head Coach, Manu Garba, as saying that four more players were expected to join the team later.
"They will complete a list of 30 that would jostle for the 21 available slots for the continental cadet competition."
Garba was further quoted as saying that the Aspire Academy Centre was more than an ideal site to prepare his players for the competition.
"The players stand to benefit more from exposure to the highly-rated facilities at the complex.
"This place can prepare us to succeed in Morocco because it is a good camping site for us since the players can be focused without any distractions."
It also quoted the team’s coordinator, Suleiman Abubakar as saying that "if you can't play football here, you can't play football anywhere".
"Coming here will help our boys and we must thank the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) for granting the team this opportunity."
NAN also reports that the team’s training schedule will start on Thursday evening to enable the players to rest after the trip from Calabar to Lagos on Tuesday and to Doha on Wednesday.
NAN further reports that the Eaglets are drawn in Group B with Cote d’Ivore, Congo DR and Ghana, while hosts Morocco is in group A with Gabon, Tunisia and Botswana.
The Eaglets will open their campaign in the championship with Ghana on April 14.