The Nigerian U-17 side will play against Botswana in a double-legged international friendly match.
The Golden Eaglets’ Head Coach, Manu Garba, has said that the double international friendlies against Botswana on Saturday and Monday at the U. J Esuene Stadium in Calabar will be an opportunity to test his wards against a battle-hardened side.
The Junior Zebras of Botswana qualified for the 2013 African Under-17 Championship against all odds by winning a strong group including Malawi, Rwanda,Algeria and ; and coach Manu reckons that the youngsters from Southern Africa would be a tough nut to crack.
The Junior Zebras, this week, lost two friendly matches (7-2 on aggregate) to Cote d’Ivoire, which incidentally is in the same group with Nigeria in the forthcoming African cadet competition in Morocco.
“There is no match that is small and we have prepared our team for the matches against Botswana with the same approach for our previous matches,” Coach Garba said after the team’s final training session on Friday.
“This match offers us the opportunity to see our team against a team that has equally qualified for the U-17 Championship in Morocco and we believe that they are a strong team having beaten a team like Rwanda which we considered very strong in spite of the fact that we beat them 8-0 over two matches last year,” he added.
The coach also allayed fears over the injury to some players in the Nigerian squad.
“We have few players who are injured but this is nothing to worry about because we have a pool of 30 talented players in camp.
“Nigerians should expect to see a very strong team against Botswana on Saturday because this is a good preparatory match to test the readiness of our players,” Coach Garba said
After Saturday’s match, both teams would complete the two-match test trade on Monday at the same venue- U. J Esuene Stadium.
Meanwhile, Cross River State has, expectedly, promised to organize a hitch-free event with adequate security being put in place for the two matches.
The state’s Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Patrick Ugbe, said there would be maximum security in and around the stadium especially since prices for the tickets would be very low.
Oswald Atuake, the Cross River State Football Association Vice-Chairman, said the token prices for the tickets- N50 for the popular side, N100 for covered seat, and N500 for VIP stands- are to encourage local fans to come and enjoy entertaining football.