Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets will go up against the Junior Eagles of Mali for the African Qualifiers match.
The tight flight schedule within the West African sub region has forced the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, to change the kick-off time of the Golden Eaglets’ Sunday’s Under-17 African Championship qualifier against the Junior Eagles of Mali to 2:00 p.m.
The match earlier billed for 4:00 p.m. at the team’s traditional home ground, the U.J Esuene Sports Stadium in Calabar, was shifted to 2:00 p.m. so that the Malian delegation could return to Bamako, via Lagos, as scheduled on Monday.
A similar reason was responsible for a similar 2:00 p.m. kick off time against Guinea last month but the Golden Eaglets still grinded a convincing 3-0 win despite the harsh weather condition.
The temperature in Calabar at present is oscillating between 25 and 30 degree Centigrade with a maximum temperature of 31 degree Centigrade expected on Sunday afternoon according to local weather forecast.
Consequently, the Golden Eaglets have adjusted their training session to acclimatize ahead of the 2:00 p.m. kick-off time even as the team’s medical doctor, Ayodeji Olarinoye, has assured that the players would be able to cope despite the expected dry condition.
“The good thing is that we have a bunch of experienced coaches and they have actually been making rooms for any change in our training programmes as we are experiencing now,” Mr. Olarinoye said. “All the players we have in camp are match fit and in good spirit too. They would cope with the weather because they are already used to the weather in Calabar.”
In a related development, Head coach, Garba Manu, has already told the players to brace themselves up for the Malian challenge, adding that no sacrifice would be too small on their part to ensure outright victory on Sunday.
“We are playing at 2:00p.m. on Sunday and that means we must be battle ready,” Mr. Garba told the players after the team rounded off its training after midday on Wednesday.
“It is good that we have been familiarizing ourselves with training around this time and we shouldn’t have any worry playing at any time because we have been training over time during bad and good weather condition,” he added.