Alhaji Aminu Maigari, the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, on Wednesday led the ‘super Golden Eaglets’ from Al Ain to the historic city of Sharjah, about 25 minutes drive off the commercial city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, ahead of their quarter-final match against Uruguay on Saturday.
The journey, which took about two-and-half hours by bus, was seamless as the Golden Eaglets arrived safely in the city that houses ‘eye of the Emirates Ferris wheel’ in time to keep a date with Uruguay for their quarter-final match on Saturday.
The Golden Eaglets are housed at the impressive Radisson Blu Resort, complete with its idyllic serene environment and a beach.
“This is a beautiful place,” coach Nduka Ugbade said. “We would do everything in our capacity to make it a memorable time by winning our next game here.”
The Golden Eaglets have since settled down in their new abode and resumed training on Wednesday as the coaching crew maps out strategy against the South American side, Uruguay.
In a related development, the Local Organising Committee in Al Ain has saluted the Golden Eaglets for their qualification for the quarter final stage of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup as well as impacting positively on the tournament.
“We in Al Ain won’t forget the Nigerian U-17 team in a hurry,” said LOC venue manager, Ahmed Woldghamail. “Apart from playing an exciting football, your fans were fantastic and they left a positive image here with the way they supported the team.”
Woldghamail, who can be regarded as an Emirati-Nigerian for his long association with the West African country, said he has adopted the Golden Eaglets after his native country crashed out of the tournament, praying for a successful outing for the team in subsequent matches.
Similarly, Senator Liyel Imoke, the Governor of Cross River State, has promised to be in the UAE should the Golden Eaglets progress beyond the quarter final stages.
This much was disclosed to the team by Hon. Patrick Ugbe, the state’s Commissioner for Sport, after the 4-1 second round win against Iran on Tuesday.
Ugbe said: “Kindly convey the congratulations of His Excellency to the team.
“He’s looking forward to their progression further in the competition and will be with them soon.”