The Nigeria U-17 team, Golden Eaglets, have expressed serious disappointment over the Confederation of African Football’s (CAF) decision to cancel the African U-17 Nations Cup, originally scheduled to hold in Morocco later this month.
The Golden Eaglets would have started their quest for U-17 continental glory against Tanzania in Group “B” on Sunday, March 14. According to officials of the team, the players, who have been in camp for the past three months, preparing for the competition, received the news that they would not be getting the opportunity to test their strength and talents against the best in Africa.
The decision of CAF to cancel the championship was as a result of reports of the dangers posed by a new strain of the coronavirus pandemic in Morocco.
According to the Guardian, the national U-17 team coach, Fatai Amoo, on Wednesday, March 11, 2021, said canceling the championship after weeks of intensive preparations wasn’t good news for the players, adding that the youngsters were really hoping to prove a point at the African championships.
“As we await more information from CAF, the players will return to their various destinations this week.”
The NFF’s responsibility now is to monitor the progress of these players in their various academies and clubs. So that any time I am called to work with the players I will be ready.
“There are abundant talents in the present Golden Eaglets squad, who need close and continuous monitoring”.
Earlier this week, CAF Emergency Committee held a meeting in Rabat, Morocco to decide the way forward for the 2021 U-17 Total Africa Cup of Nations. However, there is still hope that the championship could still hold this year and Zambia is on standby, willing to host the event.
Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) yesterday, March 11, 2021, requested to be granted the hosting right of the 12–nation tournament. In a letter to CAF, dated March 10, and signed by the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) General Secretary, Adrian Kashala, Zambia said they are willing to host the U-17 AFCON on dates approved by CAF.
The Southern African country argued that they have a good track record of hosting international competitions like the 2017 U-20 AFCON and U-20 COSAFA in 2019.