Exclusive: Two reasons why Nigeria U-17 failed at the 2023 AFCON
No matter how you look at it, Nigeria failing to reach the semi-final of the 2023 U-17 AFCON means the team has failed to reach its primary target.
The primary target was to have the Golden Eaglets reach the last-4 and earn one of the available tickets to the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
Following the 2-1 quater-final loss to Burkina Faso, the Coach Nduka Ugbade tutored Eaglets will return home without the coveted ticket.
In this EXCLUSIVE report, SPORTSRATION presents two reasons why Nigeria failed at the 2023 AFCON.
A PAY-AND-GET-IN RECRUITMENT PROCESS
There were reports of a PAY-AND-GET-IN process at the Nigeria U-17 camp ahead of the tournament. Blame the agents and also a corruptly wired system that has left Coaches at the mercy of player agents.
Most of the players were named on the 26-man list just for PR purposes and so added no value to set-up, reason the Coach found making substitutions a “battle” inside a storm.
Who goes to a bench he knows cannot salvage the situation in a match.
The squad depth was low and so in the moments where the starting XI needed a messiah from the bench, there was not enough quality from the bench, no thanks to the large number of pay-and-get-in squad members.
From their first to last game of the 2023 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, the Golden Eaglets struggled with finishing off the chances created.
Against Morocco in the second group B match and in the quater-final loss to Burkina Faso, Nigeria with better finishing would have scored 7-8 goals.
At the Nelson Mandela Stadium on Thursday evening, the Eaglets stumbled to a 2-0 deficit before Abdullahi got one in for 2-1. A true reflection of the game would put the scores a 2-6 but the Eaglets crumbled when through on goal.
Prior to the commencement of the tournament, the team excelled with goals in friendly games. It was believed the team will paint the Algeria 2023 U-17 AFCON with goals but they will leave as the team with the most missed chances.
As consequence for failing to take their chances, Nigeria`s flag will be missing when the 2023 FIFA U-17 World Cup gets underway in November.
Yesterday is gone and so it is important to talk up what must be done ahead of future engagements.
- Agents should be restricted from the National team camps.
- Nationwide scouting and selection of player would make for better recruitment.
- Better welfare packages should be made available for the Coaches and support staff to erase the system where this individuals survive on gifts from agents and intermediaries.