Nigeria’s Under-17 team, Golden Eaglets, would on Saturday tackle Sokoto United at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna.
The Nigeria National League side was drafted by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) following the late withdrawal of South Africa’s Amajimbos from an international friendly earlier scheduled for the same venue.
Officials said the match between the Golden Eaglets and
Amajimbos was postponed at the instance of the South Africa Football Association (SAFA) due to logistical reasons contrary to insecurity as erroneously reported by a section of the media.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we want Nigerians to know that South Africa did not raise any security concerns about playing in Kaduna,” stated Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, NFF’s Director of Competitions.”
They had issues with their travel arrangements and they duly exchange
correspondence with us in that regard.”
Meanwhile, Coach Emmanuel Amuneke who led a team of 21 players and eight officials to Kaduna on Thursday ahead of the weekend’s fixture said he was happy to be in Kaduna again.
“We are always comfortable to play in any part of the country and during this campaign, we had played in Abeokuta, Calabar and we had two friendly matches against Egypt last year here in Kaduna,” said the former Barcelona star.
“Of course, we would have loved to play South Africa in preparation towards Niger 2015 but we are happy that there is another game for us against Sokoto United on Saturday,” he added.
The 21 players to Kaduna include inspirational captain Kelechi Nwakali along with striking trio of Victor Osimhen, Kehinde Ayinde and Ebere Osinachi. Others are goalkeeper Udoh Akpan, Ebuka Nwokeocha and Amos Benjamin. Also in the mix were new discoveries during recent open screening including former U-15 youth internationals like Abass Ibrahim, Mustapha Salisu and Suleiman Muhammed.
Golden Eaglets have already played and won three friendly matches this month at the NFF/FIFA Goal Project pitch in Abuja scoring some 20 goals.