The National Un-der-17 team, the Golden Eaglets, have started the year on a winning note with a 6-1 score line against Bob Osim Academy in their first practice match after resuming their third-phase closed camping in Calabar ahead of the 2013 African Under-17 Championship to be hosted by Morocco in April.
The match was an opportunity for coach Manu Garba (MFR) to ascertain the readiness of all the 30 players in camp as he kept his regulars on the bench for the start of the game at Saint Patrick College.
But in less than 15 minutes, the Golden Eaglets were already 2-0 up courtesy of a quick brace by skillful midfielder, David Micah in the 8th and 10th minute.
New recruit, Chinedu Onuademu added his name on the scorers’ sheet with his first touch on the ball after coming on as a substitute for injured Peter Akiba in the 26th minute when he lashed on to a ‘pocket pass’ from Chukwuma Odili.
But the Bob Osim lads were not ready to give up yet and were rewarded when Captain Godwin Umoh’s sizzling volley sailed over a badly positioned goalkeeper Dare Dede-to end the first half at a respectable 3-1.
Coach Garba introduced fresh players in the second half with the regulars but the game remained a ding-dong affairs. Nevertheless, the Golden Eaglets found their way to increase the goal tally.
Defender Wilfred Ndidi scored a bicycle kick off a free kick from Ifeanyi Friday in the 6oth minute. From then on, the Eaglets mounted ceaseless pressure on their opponents which resulted in an own goal by defender John Odey who nodded the ball into his own net off a pullout from Eaglets’ midfielder, Musa Yahaya. Yahaya was back in the hunt almost immediately when he fired home from close range a deflected shot by goalkeeper Michael Modega for the last goal of the match.
It would be recalled that the Golden Eaglets won by an identical score line against the BobOsimAcademy whom they beat 5-1 last year but the owner of the academy and former
Enyimba FC stalwart, Bob Osim , said there was nothing to be ashamed of, adding that the Golden Eaglets have improved tremendously since the last meeting between both teams.
“Generally, it was a good game but the Golden Eaglets were the better side,” admitted Osim who was one of the stars of the domestic league until injury forced him into retirement. “The Golden Eaglets are on the right course under the coaching crew led by Manu and as a Nigerian, I wish them all the best in their forthcoming competition in Morocco.”