|Friday, February 22, 2019|
ndeed a very big congratulations to the Flying Eagles of Nigeria, for their achievement at the African under-20 tournament that took place in the Republic of Niger. They achieved their most important aim of partaking in the tournament: Qualification for the Under-20 World cup tournament, taking place in Poland, later on in the year!
Their other expectation: winning the African under-20 title, was not achieved. But nonetheless, they exited the tournament with their heads held high, having lost to Mali in the semi's, by the oddest/ luckiest/unluckiest of margins: 4-3, by penalty shoot-out! They also lost to South-Africa, by penalty shoot-out, in the "losers'" final! According to the famed soccer coach: Louis Van Gaal, when penalty shoot-out series are involved, in deciding the outcome of a match, we talk of "lottery"! In this case, "mother luck," plays a very, very, very important role, in deciding the winner!
s mentioned earlier, the Flying Eagles have nothing to complain about, with regards "mother luck," they were well served with the above-mentioned success!!!!! Above all, not winning the African Under-20 title for a record nine times, is certainly not by any stretch of the imagination, scandalous. As a matter fact, the reality of eight African Under-20 titles, under their belt, is super enviable; and is a record the rest of the African countries, will have a hard time equalling!
Going forward, the African Under-20 tournament was an eye- opener for the Flying Eagles. Their coaches have certainly seen the areas of weaknesses in the team. And have got to correct them before the World cup tournament in Poland later in the year.
One has the following suggestions for the team's preparations for the 2019 Under-20 World cup tournament:
Firstly, the coaching crew under leadership of Paul Aigbogun , should not only be left in place, but should be "unadulterated"! By "un-adulteration," one means there should be no introduction of a "foreign" coach at this time to the coaching crew. The NFF, made this mistake in the past, when after qualification for the Under-20 World cup, a "foreign" coach was added to the coaching crew, this of course didn't produce the desired results; but was actually "counter-productive"! Coaches Aigbogun and Maikaba, have so far done well and should be left to finish the job they started.
Secondly, preparations should start early enough for the world cup tournament. The team should play a number of quality friendlies, to polish off their areas of weaknesses: One of which is goal scoring! Goals win matches; if the Flying Eagles coaches can through some accidental happenstance, come by a good "finisher(s)", they should draft him/them into the team, to try his/their luck.
Thirdly, the coaches shouldn't invite too many new players to the team. Soccer is about team work; with about three months to the world cup tournament, too many new players may disrupt the team's chemistry and equilibrium!
Fourthly, the NFF should continue to encourage and motivate the players, with adequate financial incentives.
The Under-20 World cup tournament, is one soccer tournament, Nigeria hasn't won. This is not logical, considering the fact Nigeria has already five under-17 world titles under the belt! The fact that Nigeria has been runner's- up twice in the Under-20 World cup, is not good enough. Nigeria deserves and should win the FIFA Under-20 World cup tournament, for the first time!
One way to start realising this ambition, is to do the right things by way of preparations for the 2019 Under-20 World cup tournament.
In conclusion, once again, a very big congratulations to the Flying Eagles of Nigeria, for their qualification for the 2019 Under-20 World cup tournament, in Poland!
UP FLYING EAGLES! UP NIGERIA!!!!!!!
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