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Football | Nigeria

Eaglets go synthetic for Mali



The Golden Eaglets will on Sunday relocate to Abuja from their Calabar abode to fine-tune preparations for the decisive fixture of the 2013 African Under17 qualifier against Mali in Bamako.

With confirmation that the match will hold on a synthetic pitch the coaches sought NFF's approval to conclude the team's preparations in Abuja.

The team actually took off from the Fifa Goal Project site artificial pitch in February during the screening exercise.

Eaglets' coach, Manu Garba said it is imperative to expose the players to the likely condition in Bamako so that the hosts will not have undue advantage over the Nigerians.

"Our training in Calabar in the last one week has been very good but we need to familiarise the players with the artificial surface ahead of the game in Bamako.

"Playing on synthetic surface is not a new thing to most of the players and we're confident they will cope perfectly well," Garba said.

Garba enthused that Nigeria will be in the pot when the Caf holds its draws for the 2013 Under17 African Championship on Sunday, December 9 in Cairo.

The tournament will feature eight teams with the top four qualifying to represent Africa at the 2013 Fifa Under17 World Cup in UAE.

"By the grace of God we'll be at both the African tournament in Morocco and the World Cup as such we're leaving no stone unturned to ensure our qualification," Garba noted.

The Nigerians will take a 2-0 advantage from the first fixture win at the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar to face the Junior Eagles of Mali in Bamako to decide who picks the spot to Morocco 2013 game.

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