Former Golden Eaglets coach Manu Garba has said over confidence caused the country’s failure to win a ticket to this year’s FIFA U17 World Cup, while kicking into touch suggestions that the current team be promoted wholesale to the Flying Eagles.
The Golden Eaglets under the tutelage of Manu’s erstwhile assistant, Nduka Ugbade, fell 2-1 to Burkina Faso in the quarterfinal of the U17 AFCON in Algeria and as a result failed to qualify for the World Cup.
“The key factor was that they were over confident to beat Burkina Faso and as a result calmness and composure in front of goal was not there, there was anxiety to score, this was a major problem,” assessed Manu, who led Nigeria to win the U17 World Cup in 2007 and 2013.
“The team were physically fit, technically good, but tactically the team had some problems.
“I was not comfortable with the two centre-backs because they struggled with balls on the ground.
“I told my colleagues to work on the team’s finishing after I watched them play.
“We created the most chances even in the matches we lost against Morocco but they were over anxious.
“We can’t also rule out distractions from agents, so some of these boys played for themselves, they were shooting far away from goal.”
He said it was a huge disappointment the Eaglets did not qualify for the World Cup.
“Above all the team tried, they didn’t do badly, but Nigeria are a dominant force at this level and so we expected them to at least pick a ticket to the World Cup,” he remarked.
However, he maintained the current class of Eaglets cannot be guaranteed automatic passage to the U20 level.
“They will have to fight for their places in the next level, the U20s as a lot depends on what these players do from now onwards,” he insisted.