Nigeria’s cadet national team, Golden Eaglets’ coach, Manu Garba has admitted he was happy to see his side emerge victorious in their first two matches at this year’s UEFA/CAF U17 Assist Invitational Tournament in Turkey, and assured that they will continue to get better with each passing match of the competition.
While acknowledging that his team need the competition in Turkey as a good stepping stone towards the FIFA U-17 World Cup, which holds next month in Brazil, Manu added that starting their campaign with a 2-0 win against the host country has set them on the right path to glory, which he believes also aided them to a 5-1 whipping of Guatemala on Tuesday.
Manu, though, went on to admit it was not an easy game for the Eaglets, even as the five time under-17 world champions began their campaign in grand style, with goals scored by Olakunle Olusegun and Divine Nwachukwu in each half of the game.
Manu said after the game that, despite his team snatching a clean-sheet victory, it was a very difficult encounter, and enthused that the competition will help him knock his players further into shape ahead of next month’s start of action at the Cadet Mundial in Brazil.
He pointed out further that his squad of 21 players to the event in Turkey will gain additional confidence and exposure from playing the ongoing invitational, which also has in attendance Scotland, Angola, Cameroon, Senegal, Paraguay and Guatemala.
The Nigerian squad has three goalkeepers: Joseph Oluwabusola, Sunday Stephen and Suleiman Shaibu, as well as five defenders: Shedrack Tanko, Ikenna Ferdinand, Charles Etim, David Oduko and Usman Mohammed.
Also listed are nine midfielders: Samson Tijani, Mubaraq Adeshina, Shuaibu Abdulrazaq, Fawaz Abdullahi, Akinkunmi Amoo, Olatomi Olaniyan, Ibraheem Jabaar, Suleiman Lawal and Peter Agba as well as four forwards: Olakunle Olusegun, Mayowa Abayomi, Divine Nwachukwu and Wisdom Ubani; all of who Manu believes will learn crucial lessons ahead of the U-17 World Cup from 26th of October to 17th of November in Brazil.
While also praising his wards for what he called an the players for the outstanding performance against Turkey and said unused players in their first match will be giving opportunity to play against Guatemala on Tuesday.
Manu told thenff.com: “It was not an easy game. We played against a very good side and it is a relief that we won. I’m certain that the team will continue to improve in the tournament.
“The match against Turkey was good because the team won by 2-0. But on a final you noticed that some individual doesn’t click which affected the performance of the team collective play, and I think being their first match you expect such to happen having spent just 2 days in Turkey.
“We are here to give chances to every player so that we can know the players we are to take to the World Cup, the match against Guatemala which will come up tomorrow (Tuesday) , I believe we will give other players chance to see what they can do.
“The most important thing is to expose these boys and see their performance in term of collective team play and look at individual who are good enough to represent the country at the world cup.
“After we play three matches that is when we can analyse the team performance, then in term of individual by that time we might have known those who are good enough to represent the country.
“We intend to give everybody a chance here so that by the time we draw the final lists to Brazil, we might have analysed level of individual players and give them a fair chance because the bulk of them qualified the team for Brazil.
“We also have good players back home who are good enough to make the team, so it depends on individual performances here that guarantee, who and who are going to play in Brazil .
“I am very optimistic that the tournament will come good for the players to stand the test of time in Brazil. Playing Turkey will definitely be a strong test for the team.”