Nigeria will have to build a new team for this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup after a fresh MRI scan disqualified several of the top stars.
MTNFootball reports early today that no less than six of the players who featured for the Golden Eaglets at the 2013 African U-17 Championship in Morocco in April have been ruled out of the World Cup in the UAE in October going by the latest round of MRI tests.
“It’s a big blow for coach Manu Garba and his team, but we hope he can use the three months before the World Cup to get worthy replacements,” a top official informed MTNFootball.
“A good number of the players are on the border line and a call has to be taken on whether to risk them or let them go.”
Some of the affected players have already been decamped by the team and proposed test matches against UAE and Turkey may now have to be cancelled as a result of the confusion in the team.
It is understood that world football governing body FIFA accept grade 1-5, which equates to about 17.21 years. Of the 30 players tested officially, eight did not make the mark, while six of the 17 players who were self-sponsored were ruled out.
P.M.NEWS Sports’ effort to speak with assistant coach of the team, Nduka Ugbade early today proved abortive as his mobile line was switched off, while an e-mail to the team’s Media Officer, Morakinyo Abodunrin was not replied as at press time.
On the eve of the African Championship, three of the players were disqualified because their results fell on the border line. Despite this major setback, the Eaglets reached the final of the competition only to lose on penalties to Cote d’Ivoire.
The Eaglets are currently training in Calabar ahead of the U-17 World Cup, which will be played between 17 October and 8 November. The draw for the tournament will be staged in Abu Dhabi on 26 August.