By Albert Akota
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have finalised plans to conduct Magnetic Resonance Imagery (MRI) scans on players of the cadet national team, Golden Eagles, ahead of their participation at the 2019 African U-17 Nations Cup zonal qualifiers billed for September in Niger Republic.
Although no exact date has been mentioned for the scans to be conducted, NFF general-secretary, Dr Sanusi Mohammed said Eaglets’ coach, Manu Garba has already forwarded the names of 60 players for the process.
The NFF scribe further affirmed that only the qualified players, eligible for the age-grade competition, would be cleared to participate in the qualifiers for the 2019 Africa U-17 Nations Cup scheduled to hold in Tanzania.
Nigeria are in Group B of the Africa U-17 Nations Cup qualifying series alongside Burkina Faso, Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire and Niger Republic; with the Eaglets billed to begin the campaign against the hosts on September 2.
Qualifying for Tanzania 2019 will put the Eaglets in a position to vie for one of Africa’s slots to the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which Sanusi stressed is a target that must be achieved.
He stressed that qualification is essential for the team, considering that Nigerian missed the last edition and could not defend the title that had been won back-to-back in 2013 and 2015.
Ahead of it all, Sanusi said plans have been concluded for the players to undergo MRI tests, as the federation is bent on following all rules for assembling a formidable squad
He confirmed that about 60 players will take part in the tests, to ascertain if they truly fall within the age bracket for next year’s championship and whether they are fit enough for the hostilities ahead of the zonal qualifiers in September.
“All the logistics for the test have been put in place, (but) the coach is in a better position to give more details,” Sanusi submitted.
Last year, this test disastrously accounted for the entire first-team Manu Garba had prepared for, 60 players who have been training in Abuja since last month will be subjected to this test.
The next U17 AFCON will be hosted by Tanzania next year with the qualifiers to be played on regional basis with winners advancing to the tournament proper.