U-17 WYC: UAE‘s coach fears Eaglets’ firepower

Ahead of the August 26 Official Draw of the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup
to be held Fairmont Bab Al Bahr hotel in Abu Dhabi, coach Rashid Amir
of the host country, United Arab Emirates is not relishing the
prospect of being grouped along with the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria in
the preliminary stage.

Nigeria is among a pool 24 strong countries including Brazil, and that has qualified for the 15th edition of the global youth fiesta and Amir has tipped the Golden Eaglets as one of the favourites.

“Despite the difficulty of the task that lies ahead, we would like to
reach the semi-finals, ” Amir recently told the FIFA’s website, adding that the coach Manu Garba(MFR)-tutored Golden Eaglets would be hard to beat: “They’re (Nigeria) one of the best teams at this year’s tournament, with very physically strong players. And we can’t forget Brazil, who will be one of the favourites.”

Incidentally, the Golden Eaglets have the best record in the annals of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup Championship with three titles and three runners ups medals. They are closely followed by Brazil with three titles and two runner ups. Cup holders, Mexico along with Ghana (who missed out of this year’s event following their failure at the African elimination in April) have won the tournament twice.

The 24 teams who earned their berth at UAE 2013 will be divided into
six groups of four at the Official Draws next month and the top two
from each section will automatically advance to the Round of 16, along with the four third-placed teams with the best records.

Coach Garba in the meantime, has reiterated that his wards would be
gunning for the title, adding that the primary objective of attending
a championship is to be crowned champions.

Said: “We are determined to do well at the World Cup in the UAE and
we would do all within our capacity to be crowned champions.
“Of course, we know it is not going to be easy but we are going to
give it our best shot,” noted Garba who assisted late coach Yemi Tella to wrought Nigeria’s 2007 Wold Cup-winning team in 2007.

FOR THE RECORDS: THE 24 FINALISTS
Host nation: United Arab Emirates
AFC (ASIA)
Iraq
Japan
Uzbekistan

CAF (Africa)
Cote d’Ivoire
Nigeria
Tunisia
Morocco

CONCACAF (Central, North America and Caribbean)
Honduras
Mexico
Panama

CONMEBOL (South America)
Argentina
Brazil
Uruguay
Venezuela

OFC (Oceania)
New Zealand

UEFA (Europe)
Austria
Croatia
Italy
Russia
Slovakia
Sweden

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