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Garba sure of team’s success, as Congo dares Flying Eagles



COACH of the national Under-20 team, the Flying Eagles, Manu Garba, says he is sure his team would come good at the on-going African Youth Championship (AYC) in Senegal because he has a good squad. 

  Speaking Monday from Senegal, where his team recorded a 3-1 win over the host country, Garba said: “The first match of every tournament is usually a very difficult one and most important match. We are sure of making it to the semi final stage, which is the ultimate chance of qualification for the World Cup and I believe we are going to have a very good game against Congo, which is our next game. 

  “The Congolese are not a bad side but we are not going to underrate them. We will do all we can to get the maximum three points. The boys did very well against the Senegalese, as we all know that every opening match is always very tough. 

  “I believe the boys gave a good account of themselves, as it is not easy to thrash the host country at their own backyard. But by and large, we have a good team with a blend of wonderful players.”

    Also speaking on Nigeria’s chances in Senegal, the team’s assistant coach, Nduka Ugbade, who disclosed that the players complained over the tedious training they go through in camp, said the win on Sunday has justified the rigour.

   He said: “The physical fitness I engaged the boys is paying dividend now. This is what we agreed upon that we will push them beyond limit to back up the tactical training given them with their full fitness. 

  “We are not disappointed that the match didn’t end on a wide margin. As you know, it’s a transition from the Under-17 to Under 21 and we are about the youngest in the tournament. One thing that we saw was that the Senegalese were older, stronger and bigger, but because we had enough information about them, we told them to calm down and take their chances which we succeeded in achieving at the end of the day. 

  “I am happy that Taiwo Awoniyi was able to score those goals while Chidera Ezeh was supporting him. We could easily have scored four to five goals more. 

 But we thank God that we were able to get the three maximum points which is enough to separate us from the rest team in our group.”

  Meanwhile, Congo coach, Paolo Berrettini, has boasted that his team do not fear Nigeria and will fight to win tomorrow’s Group A match against the six-time champions.

  On Sunday, Congo forced Cote d’Ivoire to a 1-1 draw in the second Group A match at the Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium in Dakar.

  “I will focus on my team against a big team from Nigeria. We must play to win and qualify for the semifinals,” said Berrettini.

  “Against Cote d’Ivoire, we did not have a good first half, as we did not play as well as our opponents. But in the second half we came back into the game.”

 Congo, who eliminated defending champions, Egypt, in the qualifiers, boast five full internationals, led by striker, Georges Bidimbou, who were at the recent AFCON in Equatorial Guinea.

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