Ndidi’s visit will inspire Eaglets – Ugbade
Golden Eaglets coach, Nduka Ugbade, says the U-17 boys are still basking in the euphoria of spending time with Super Eagles midfielder, Wilfred Ndidi, who paid a surprise visit to the team’s camp on Tuesday, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
In a video that went viral on Tuesday, the Leicester City player showed up at the team’s base in Abuja, where he was seen in a warm embrace with Ugbade while the players also swarmed him for pictures.
Ndidi had a testing journey with the Golden Eaglets in 2013 as he was dropped for the U-17 AFCON staged in Morocco for failing the MRI test before making John Obuh’s squad for the 2013 U-20 FIFA World Cup in Turkey.
In a chat with our correspondent, Ugbade revealed that he was pleasantly surprised by the gesture even though he was aware that the player would visit.
“I was very surprised too because I didn’t tell anyone that he was coming. I guess they saw him from the window while he was coming down from the vehicle and they all rushed into my room to see him and touch him. It was very interesting and it touched my heart to know that he can give us such time while he just arrived for a national team assignment,” Ugbade told our correspondent.
“He is just like a son to me because he’s been with me since his youth days and he has never forgotten the relationship we have and he did boost our confidence and passion as we prepare for the Nations Cup. I was very happy with his gesture and the boys can’t stop talking about him,” he added.
The coach also added that the team have since resumed training following the election break.
“All the boys are now back in camp and we are getting all the support from the NFF and the only thing we are waiting for is the MRI test which will be very soon, and afterward we will pick the team and we will be ready for the AFCON.”
The 15th edition of the U-17 AFCON is scheduled to take place from April 29 to May 19 in Algeria and will see the top four teams qualify for the FIFA U-17 World Cup which will be held in Peru from November 10 to December 2.
Nigeria are drawn in Group B against Morocco, Zambia and perennial rivals South Africa.
The Eaglets qualified for the tournament after winning the U-17 WAFU B championship last year, where they defeated Burkina Faso 2-1 in the final of the tournament held in Ivory Coast.
Nigeria won the U-17 AFCON twice in 2001 and 2007 and the FIFA U-17 World Cup five times in 1985, 1993, 2007, 2013 and 2015.