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01.11.2007 Sports Letters

Jones Upbeat About Meteors’ Chances

By Daily Graphic
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Black Meteors Head Coach, Cecil Jones Attuquayefio, is upbeat about the chances of his team despite the odds as they prepare for their Nigerian counterparts in the much-awaited Olympic group decider in Accra on November 16.

Considering the magnitude of the match, the FA has thought it wise to shift it to the refurbished Accra Stadium to enable the Meteors to enjoy massive support from Ghanaians.

That is the grand manner in which the nation wants to open the new-look national stadium, just a day before a pre-Nations Cup four-nation tournament involving Ghana, Benin, United Arab Emirates and late-comers, The Sudan, kicks off at the same venue.

Calling the bluff of the Nigerians in a telephone chat with the Daily Graphic yesterday, Coach Attuquayefio said “we reckon the match to be a tough one, but we have seen it all before and we are sure to carry the day.”

“We hear the Nigerians have assembled 40 players in camp, including Super Eagles players, who are eligible to play at this level but we will be ready for them,” Jones assured.

Prominent among the Super Eagles players who qualify to play at the U-23 level are left full back, Taye Taiwo of Olympic Marseille, and Chelsea midfielder, John Mikel Obi.

According to him, all nine foreign-based players invited for the match are expected in town on November 8, one clear week to the big game.

They are Asamoah Gyan, skipper Michael Helegbe, Anthony Annan, Bernard Kumordzi, Nafiu Iddrisu, Prince Tagoe, Isaac Vorsah, Emmanuel Boakye and Nana Kwasi Asare.

Coach Attuquayefio explained that Asare and Boakye were being reintroduced particularly to seal the loopholes in the Meteors lateral defence.

The Meteors now top the group with six points, two more than their opponents, but still need to win the match at all cost to book their place in next year's Beijing Olympics.

Anything short of that will give the Nigerians, who have a game more to play against out-of-contention South Africa, the upperhand.

According to the Welfare Officer, Sarbahn Quaye, the 20-man local Meteors squad currently camping at the Mariset Hotel at Osu in Accra will engage Great Olympics and Sekondi Hasaacas at the El-Wak Stadium today and Sunday respectively.

Next Wednesday, the Meteors will play Real Sportive and follow it up the next day with another trial match against Tema Youth.

The team will crown their preparations with an anniversary match against Accra Hearts of Oak, also at El-Wak on Sunday, November 11.

Story by Samuel Ebo Kwaitoo