As the Golden eaglets resumed camping for preparations towards the under 17-world cup latter in the
year, I think we need to refresh ourselves with what happened to the team in time past. The Golden Eaglets
failed under the weight of expectations at the Confederation of African Football U-17 championship in
Morocco coming second to the Baby Elephant of Côte d'Ivoire and the egg heads at the glass house and even
the coaches major concern is to overhaul the team. I asked why? Is this team that bad? Yes our expectations as
a nation and football enthusiasts is for them to win the championship but have we put it into perspective that
the team lost to the best team in that tourney?
The Baby Elephants of Côte d'Ivoire are by far the best team in that tournament; going into the final
they are the only team that did not surfer any defeat, this shows how good they are, so in my opinion
they truly deserve the crown, please I don’t want to talk about the voodoo allegation against the
Ivorians, I'm not saying it does not exist in sport (though I have never experience any my closest
to it was Nigeria Vs Senegal during Ghana/Nigeria 2000 at the National Stadium,
Coach Kashimawo Laloko over to you sir!) its not just my topic of discussion here this time. OK thank you lets move on!
Back to my darling Golden Eaglets, I was privileged to be with the team for close to a month in Calabar before they left for training tour in Aspire Academy, Doha, Qatar and I must say that the quality of this
team is indubitable also the bounding of team is so tight that you can even feel it like air, I don’t want
to say anything about the true ages of the guys but as I told some sport journalists after my return from
Calabar, that the team might be the youngest U-17 team we ever present for any tournament of that age
The team has been together for over a year now and it is pertinent to say that this has made the
team a strong unit in terms of solid team bounding, good friendship and good comrade on and off the
pitch. The team play some good football pleasing to the eye ala Barcelona, they know who is where
on the pitch without looking at the player, in one of their friendly matches in Calabar against Botswana
, the whole stadium gave them a standing ovation after some wonderful display from the back despite
the fact that they are yet to score in that match.
So with the rumor making the round that the technical team lead by coach Manu Garba MFR, promised
to tinker with the team I will strongly deprecate such move, it will not only change the mentality of the
team which at presently is top notch to that of a failure it will also tamper with the team spirit which to
me is one strong reason why the team will go places if left intact.
It is said that the only constant thing in life is change and as the team is now I will not pretend that it is
a nonesuch but the change I will proffer in the team is to do about its mentality. The mentality I am
talking about here is that the team saw itself as the best in that category before the Morocco debacle,
one of the reason they lost (over confidence) yes they are good but not absolute, they should not look
at themselves as the best in that age grade but be humble and follow to the latter all instructions of their
The team technical crew need to work on it selves as well, the Ivorians showed glimpses of
what to expect at the world stage as per the technical aspect of the game with better reading of the
game than our coaches and at the world stage we will meet teams that are technically and tactically
savvy so they (the coaches) need to be on top of the game as well. As per the playing personnel
, I think the area where the team need adjustment is just the three players that were scanned out by the
MRI test just before the start of the African U-17 Championship, gladly this should not be a headache
for the coaches as they equally talented young players on the waiting list that are with
the team and hoping for this kind of “opportunity”.
Lastly, I must commend the eggheads at the glass house in Abuja and the Cross Rivers state
government for the world class preparation the team enjoyed on its way to the African U-17
Championship in Morocco, nothing short of this is required before the under 17 world cup to be
played in United Arab Emirate come October, 2013.
One piece of advice to NFF, they should not put pressure the team or its technical crew in anyway
free hand and tranquil environment is needed by the team at this stage of its existence.
This is a very talented team one, that has potential to be world beaters and the big picture we all
should be looking at is 2018 World Cup in Russia where at least ten of this young lads should make it to the bigger stage with the Super Eagles.
Go Golden Eaglets!!!
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