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'Eaglets will make Africa proud'

04 November 2013, 08:37

Abuja - Nduka Ugbade, an assistant coach with the Golden Eaglets, has assured that the team would make Africa proud at the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Golden Eaglets defeated their Uruguayan counterparts 2-0 on Saturday to qualify for the semi-finals of the competition.

Ugbade told NAN on telephone on Sunday from the UAE that the Eaglets would ensure they win the competition.

"Other African countries are now looking up to Nigeria, as the only African team left in the competition, to win the event.

"We are now saddled with the responsibility of making not only Nigeria proud, but Africans as a whole, as the only team left in the competition from the continent.

"It is unfortunate that Cote d'Ivoire lost to Argentina eventually. But they played so well and fought relentlessly not to lose out.

"We are gradually getting to the end of the competition and winning is our utmost goal, and we are not relenting till we achieve this,’’ he said.

NAN recalls that Cote d'Ivoire, the other African country in the quarter-finals, had lost 1-2 to Argentina on Saturday.

Ugbade who led Nigeria to its first win in the competition in 1985 said the Eaglets had been playing to instructions and this had led to its success so far.

"They have been doing well and we are also concentrating on ensuring that they are physiologically fit to play because that is also an important aspect of their training.

"Constant talking to the players, both collectively and individually, has also helped. They are young lads and need to be constantly guided,'' he added.

Ugbade, however, allayed fears over Akinjide Idowu missing the next match due to two yellow cards from two games, saying he would be replaced by someone who can equally attack.

"Let panic not be in the air. We have another player who can take over his position. The attack will not be left open, but be filled with someone capable,'' he said.

The coach also said the injured Success Isaac was getting better, and assured that he would be back in the starting line-up once he was fit to play.

"We want the injury to heal well, because straining it now can become a major problem in future. If missing the next match will put him in proper condition, it won't be a bad idea,’’ he said.

NAN reports that the Eaglets will take on Sweden on Tuesday, November 5 in the semi-finals.

NAN recalls that Nigeria had won the 1985, 1993 and 2007 editions of the competition.



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