Garba told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday that the team had been working very hard since June.
According to him, 3,000 participated in the screening for the qualification and that the successful players are now in camp to prepare for their encounter with Niger in August.
NAN reports that the first leg of the qualifier is scheduled for the weekend of August 5 to 7 in Niger and the re-match in Nigeria a forth night later.
“For about a month, we have been undergoing screening, bringing players from the nooks and crannies of Nigeria.
“More than 3,000 players took part in that exercise, part of which we have been able to pencil down some players that are right now in camp preparing very well, God’s willing to face Niger first week of August.
“We have trimmed down the number to a manageable size. Just last week we played two friendly matches, winning 6-0 against Santos Academy and on Saturday the team still defeated Sia-One Academy 5-0.
“God willing, this week, on Wednesday and Friday, we are still going to play two friendly matches before we round up preparations for the match against Niger.’’
“In football, the first leg match is the most important match, because this is the very first match we are playing in the qualifiers.
“After the first leg, we are still going to play the second leg, but most importantly, physically we have done a good job to bring these boys into shape.
“Technically too, we have mapped out a comprehensive training programme trying to mix up techniques, tactics and conditioning into one because we don’t have much time.
“We are not doing badly too in trying to make them psychologically fit because no matter how god you are, if you are not psychologically and mentally fit there are some outside distractions that can affect the performance of a player.’’
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The coach said that performance in training and friendly matches would guide the selection for an 18-man list of players to prosecute the first leg of the qualifying match against Niger.
He added that the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has already planned four friendly matches before the team departs for Niger.
Garba said after the first leg the 18-man list would return to camp and prepare with the others for the second leg, adding that 23 players would make the cut for the second leg. (NAN)