U-17 AFCON: Three observations from Nigeria`s 1-0 win over Zambia
Nigeria defeated Zambia 1-0 in the opening group B game of the 2023 U-17 AFCON. Caretaker presents three observations from the Eaglets performance on Sunday evening in Constantine.
HUGELY TALENTED LADS WHO WILL GROW WITH EVERY GAME
Nigeria paraded a hugely talented squad but found it difficult hitting their strides in a goalless first half. As the game progressed, the boys got better and exuded confidence with their moves.
By mid-point of the second half, Nigeria`s Eaglets were flying past their Zambian opponents and got due reward when Favour Daniel slammed home in the 76th minute.
This team will get better with every game at the U-17 AFCON.
A problem point for the Golden Eaglets I must say. The Zambia attackers will have themselves to blame for not scoring in this game as the Nigerian defenders were tackle-shy.
On a good number of occasions the Junior Chipolopolos strolled into the box with a defender in company.
Against a sharp attacking side, this could get punished with goals. If it is the teams style of defending, I must say it is dangerous but if the defenders were just scared of making clean tackles then work should be done to correct this obvious slack-point.
UGBADE HAS HIS TRUSTED LIEUTENANTS
From the 60th minute, a good number of Nigerian players showed clear signs of tiredness but Coach Nduka Ugbade will not make a substitution.
In football, this happens for different reasons and includes when a coach has his trusted Leiutenants he hopes to deliver results. Just maybe this explains the coach keeping faith with the starting XI until after the winning goal.
Recall the Eaglets team was depleted by pre-tournament MRI tests back in Nigeria which led to a good number of Ugbade`s trusted legs getting the axe with less than a month to the tournament.
Just maybe the 1985 U-17 World Cup winner has few names he can trust from the 26-man squad to deliver results.
Caretaker observes that as long as this brings victories like vs Zambia, there will be no reason for criticism.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE EAGLETS
With a morale boosting three points in the bag, the Eaglets will savor the goodness of less pressure when they face Morocco on Wednesday May 3, 2023 by 5pm. A win in that game will seal progression to the quater-final with a game vs South Africa to spare.