Nigeria’s cadet national team, Golden Eaglets’ head coach, Manu Garba has come out with a startling revelation that many of the England-born lads that reported to his camp in Abuja were affected by stifling heat in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Although Manu’s array of home-grown players felt at home under the weather and other tough conditions in Abuja, the UAE 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup-winning gaffer noted that the invitees from Chelsea, West Ham United and Bournemouth of England as well as one from Germany could not cope with the change in climate.
Consequently, Manu has hinted that he might not have any foreign-based player in his final squad list for this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil, as several of the lads born abroad that trained with his team could not make his preliminary roster of 50 names submitted to global soccer governing body, FIFA, last week.
Though Manu acknowledged that as many as 12 players of Nigerian descent born abroad were in his camp to show their talent and play for spots in his squad to Brazil 2019, he noted that they all struggled under the sun and even failed to meet up in physical aspects during training, unlike those who grew up in Nigeria.
He expatiated that the lads from overseas also struggled to blend with the language, food, water, culture and relationships among their colleagues in camp, as well as distractions from academics and examinations at their bases, where they are mostly scholars with their clubs, all of which he admitted affected most of them, such that many had to hurriedly return to their spots in Europe.
Manu told Owngoalnigeria.com: “Players born abroad or playing abroad are welcome but like I have always said they have to be better than the ones we have here particularly as we have been working with these players for a while now.
“We saw some very good players born abroad during training but the weather didn’t let us get the best out of them. Others struggled to keep up with the physical demand normally associated with African football. Few of them did, but they had to return to their clubs, as some have exams and some are sorting out their future.”