Saturday October 26th 2019 (today) is here. On this day at the Estádio Olímpico, Goiania in Brazil at 9pm, the Nigerian U-17 side, the Golden Eaglets will begin their quest for yet another FIFA U-17 world cup title.
The Nigerian lads are no new comers in this category of FIFA’s competition. Nigeria did not only make a bold statement that she is indeed a force that cannot be ignored in this category by winning the maiden edition in 1985 when it was still called U-16 world championship but also went on to win the tournament now dubbed FIFA U-17 World cup a record five times, thus emerging as the country till date to have won the highest number of times in this celebration of youth excellence and dexterity.
Nigeria were celebrated champions in 1985, 1993, 2007, 2013 and 2015 in eight appearances.
In those eight appearances they have only crashed out in the Group Stage in 2003 in Hensinki Finland.
The other times the team failed to emerge champions; they finished in the quarterfinals twice and as runners up once.
Should they have a jolly ride in this year’s edition they would be claiming their 6th title and no doubt this is the dream and prayer of most sports loving Nigerians, but the first thing must be done first so as not to appear to be underrating opponents.
The Eaglets will open campaign today against Hungary, followed by clash against Ecuador on Tuesday at the Estádio Olímpico Pedro Ludovico and finally round up the group stage with battle against Australia at the 20,000 capacity Bezerrão stadium.
Losing 2-1 to Sao Paulo and 1-0 to Japan in warm up matches could be a blessing in disguise to tell the Manu Garba tutored side that though they have prepared and are 5-time champions it does not in any way imply that it will be walk in the park or that opponents will be soft nut to crack.
Victory song is always refreshing to sing and no one ever gets tired of singing such songs.
This means the Eaglets should not dwell on the past but must handle the championship as a new challenge, another opportunity to conquer the world, and another opportunity to write their names in gold and open better doors in their soccer career.
Warm ups and friendly matches lose or win are over, it is time for serious business.
The Eaglets must take every game seriously and must not forget that winning the first match is very important because of its ability raise the team spirit.
Eaglets must therefore fly pass Hungary to begin the quest for the next title on a good note.
Let the battle begin!