By Albert Akota
Coach Emmanuel Amuneke has hailed the Golden Eaglets after they dumped Super Lion Academy 9-1 in a training match o in Abuja.
“Overall, this was a very good performance by the boys irrespective of the score line,” coach Amuneke said afterwards.
“We are very impressed with the marking ability of the team, their cohesion and calmness against a very good side because the Super Lion players are more experienced.
“For us, this is a good starting point and we would continue to work harder.”
The Eaglets are fine-tuning their preparation ahead of the 11th African U17 Championship to be hosted in Niamey between February 15 and March 1 where they are drawn in Group A against hosts Niger, Guinea and Zambia.
Among the goals for Golden Eaglets were Victor Osimhen, Ebere Osinachi, who grabbed a brace each as well as Suleiman Abdullahi, Samuel Chukwueze, Kelechi Nwakali and Kehinde Ayinde; Super Lions’ Moshood Aliu conceded an own goal, while Omo’Oba Kasali got his team’s consolation goal.
The friendly match against the Suleja-based team from Niger State was Golden Eaglets first in almost three months since their victory against Akpabuyo United in Calabar on September 20, 2014, but the
Amuneke-led boys showed no sign of rustiness in a high-tempo match.
They were rewarded with the first goal in the fourth minute, when Osimhen’s shot bounced off goalkeeper Segun Sunday for the curtain raiser.
Lion responded swiftly and got the equaliser in the eighth minute following an acrobatic volley by Kasali that beat Amos Benjamin.
But five minutes later, Abdullahi restored the Eaglets lead when he broke free from the offside trap to slot the ball behind on-rushing goalkeeper Sunday.
Fleet-footed Chukwueze grabbed the third goal in the 17th minutes after latching on to an incisive pass from new boy and former national U15 midfielder Abass Ibrahim.
Meanwhile, Captain Nwakali came up with perhaps the best goal of the match with a well-struck free-kick on the edge of the Lion’s box 12 minutes later for Eaglets’ fourth goal.
Three minutes later, under-pressured Lion’s captain Idowu conceded a cheeky own goal as he headed the ball straight into his own net off a pullout from Chukwueze, while Osimhen got his second goal on the stroke of half time.
In the second half, Amuneke introduced his new recruits sourced from the recent open screening and they did acquaint themselves even against supposedly bigger opposition.
Nevertheless, it was the more experienced striker, Ebere Osinachi who snatched a brace in the 70th
and 72nd minute, while his replacement, Kehinde Ayinde, powered home a header off a precise pull out from former U15 midfielder Feyi Asagidigbi to the delight of the watching spectators.