Abuja - Ex-international, Austin Eguavoen, on Saturday expressed contentment
at the progress made by the Golden Eaglets at the ongoing 2013 FIFA U-17
World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Eguavoen, a member of the 1994 Nations Cup winning squad, told the
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the team’s handlers had also
done a commendable job.
Nigeria had qualified after topping Group F with seven points from
three matches, following 6-1 and 5-0 wins over Mexico and Iraq,
respectively, and a 3-3 draw with Sweden.
The Golden Eaglets will on October 29 face Iran in one of the second
round matches of the competition. The match will hold at Al Ain City at 4pm, Nigerian time.
According to Equavoen, the Eaglets' spectacular performance in the
first round showed that they prepared adequately for the tournament.
"Manu Garba, Nduka Ugbade and Emmanuel Amunike have been fantastic.
They have done a good job, I’m impressed. These boys have wowed us.
"Their matches are entertaining, they are former champions and they could not have performed below expectation.
"The tournament is meant for football development, which is what we should be particular about.
"But I must say that this tournament has brought out the best in these boys,’’ Eguavoen said.
Eguavoen, also a former Super Eagles coach, added that his expectation was
to see members of the country’s U-17 team progress into the Super
"We have a good chance. It is just to develop these players. They
should be allowed to progress to the U-20 and then the Super Eagles, but
people should not put these boys under pressure.
"We need to ensure their progress into the next cadre; with that, our football development will be guaranteed,’’ he added.
NAN reports that eight winners in the round of 16 will advance to the quarterfinals, scheduled for November 1 and November 2.
The competition, which began on October 17, will end on November 8.
The Eaglets have won the competition a record three times: 1985, 1993 and 2007.
They were runners-up in 1987, 2001 and 2009.