Nigeria’s U-17 team, Golden Eaglets, on Monday arrived safely in the city of Suwon for the 2015 Suwon Continental Cup Youth (U-17) Football Tournament holding between September 2 and 6. They will play against three other FIFA U-17 World Cup-bound teams- Brazil, Croatia and host, Korea.
The delegation, led by Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) board member and Chairman of Nationwide League One, Alhaji Ahmad Kawu departed Lagos 2:50pm aboard Qatar Airways on Sunday and landed at the Hamad International Airport in Doha after a seven-hour flight. They later embarked on another nine-hour non-stop flight by Qatar Airways and landed at the Seoul Incheon International Airport at 3:50 pm local time (7:50am Nigerian time).
Temperature on arrival in Seoul was 28 degree Celsius and the team was welcomed by NFF’s FIFA Match Agent, Jairo Pachon with members of the local organizing committee of the tournament, before they were driven to Suwon – about two hours from Seoul. They are accommodated at Value Hotel Worldwide in Suwon along with the other three contesting teams.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eaglets have started preparation ahead of their Wednesday’s opener against the Baby Taegu Warriors with about 30 minutes session within the hotel facility to shake off jet lag. “We have not come to admire the city but we have come here to work as world champions because everybody would want to beat us,” Coach Emmanuel Amuneke told the players.”We have to face this challenge and work hard; that is why we are here; so let’s take away the fatigue of the journey first and rest today.”
The team would hold its first training session between 9 and 11 am local time on Tuesday and would face host, Korea on Wednesday.
When the Eaglets take on Croatia in their final match of the Suwon International Tournament on Sunday, at the Suwon Sports Complex, it will be exactly eight years to the day the squad led by Lukman Haruna spanked Germany’s U-17 3-1 on the same turf to reach the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which Nigeria eventually won by defeating Spain on penalties in 2007.
The reigning world champions have been placed in Group A of this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup finals, against hosts Chile, Croatia and USA.