FLYING EAGLES' PRE-AYC PLAN FACES SETBACK
The Nigeria under-20 national team, the Flying Eagles, currently in Turkey preparing for the 2011 Orange Africa Youth Championship (AYC) are in dire straits as the kickoff date draws nearer.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has revealed that the team may soon find its preparations for the AYC difficult because of the switch in venue for the championship.
'The switch in venue has really affected our plans for the team,' Chairman of the NFF's Technical Committee, Barrister Chris Green, said. 'We had a budget for the team but now that the tournament will be moved, all our plans have been rubbished.
'Don't also forget that the overseas camping (in Libya and Turkey) has been capital intense. Arranging for the team to play friendly matches has been tough but we (the NFF) decided to spare no expense as we want the side to go places,' Green said. The team, coached by John Obuh, lost to a Ukrainian first division side on Monday in its latest tune up game in the Europe. Green says the Nigerian under-20team has now taken shape and would get even stronger in the coming days.
'We have been in touch with the coaches who reported that the fitness levels and technical awareness of the boys have reached an advanced stage. 'We are pleased and expect them to do well at the AYC,' he enthused. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) is expected to make a verdict shortly on the venue of the competition, with South Africa and Ghana among the favourites to get the nod.
'We don't have a particular preference; whether it is Ghana or South Africa, we don't have any problems. 'We just want CAF to take a speedy decision on the matter,' he stated. The 2011 edition of the AYC was supposed to hold in Libya between March 18 and April 1 but was shifted, owing to political upheaval in the North African state.