–Describes AYC draw as tough one
Flying Eagles coach Manu Garba has said he is confident his team will triumph at next year’s African Youth Championship even though they have been drawn in a tough first round group that has hosts Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire and Congo.
“Our group seems to be tougher than the other group which has Ghana, Mali, Zambia and South Africa, but I believe we will qualify to the semi-finals along with Cote d’Ivoire,” said Manu.
“But this is not to say that all the eight teams are not good enough to win the competition and so we will expect no favours from any of them.
“There will be no easy groups or matches. We therefore have to prepare very well and be motivated to achieve our targets.”
The Flying Eagles class of 2015 are built around the country’s U17 team who won the FIFA U17 World Cup last year in the United Arab Emirates.
Last year, they suffered defeats at the hands of African U17 champions Cote d’Ivoire at the U17 championship in Morocco.
However, Manu has insisted they will not be seeking revenge when both teams clash again in Senegal.
“We are not driven to avenge the loss in Morocco because this will be a different competition and we will have two different teams from the ones from last year,” he argued.
“We respect Cote d’Ivoire because they have a great footballing culture, but we hope to beat any team we come up against.”
The African Youth Championship will be played between March 8 and 22.
The Flying Eagles have won a record six AYC titles with their last triumph being in 2011. They finished third last year in Algeria.
The semi-finalists will qualify to represent Africa at the FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand.