Nigeria’s cadet national team, Golden Eaglets’ coach, Manu Garba has finally settled for only 25 players in his squad to Sao Paolo, Brazil for the last lap of preparations for this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in the Samba Nation, megasportsarena.com reports.
This is in contrast with initial reports that Manu would take either 27 or 30 players on the trip, which was shifted from Tuesday to Wednesday, as financial bottlenecks from Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are said to have scuttled his plans.
It was gathered that the NFF big shots categorically told Manu they cannot afford his plans for more players, especially with those making the trip requiring Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans to determine their eligibility within the under-17 age category, and the coach eventually had to succumb to the officials’ desires.
Consequently, Manu had 25 players for the flight to Brazil on Wednesday, though after 33 took the mandatory MRI test to determine their eligibility for the tournament, for which the gaffer had earlier proposed that the NFF should conduct scans for all 50 players he routinely listed in his provisional squad submitted to FIFA in the last week of September.
However, the NFF only paid for 30 players’ test, while clubs and agents of three other players picked bills for their wards, only for the list to again get cut to 25 lads, mainly survivors from the squad that featured at the recent UEFA/CAF Invitational in Turkey, where they won two matches but lost to Senegal in their third and final game of the competition that ended at the group stage.
Manu is now expected to submit his final list of 21 players for the Cadet Mundial on October 16, which will be 10 days before the commencement of hostilities at Brazil 2019, where the Eaglets will open their campaign against Hungary, before also facing Ecuador and Australia in the group.