Nigeria’s cadet national team, Golden Eaglets’ coach, Fatai Folorunsho Amoo (Arsenal) has come out with a reassurance that his squad will bring youth football glory back to the country, as they have learned many lessons from the recent fall of the under-20 squad, Flying Eagles, megasportsarena.com reports.
With the Flying Eagles failing to go beyond the first round of the West African Football Union (WAFU) zone-b qualifiers in Benin Republic, the team coached by Isah Ladan Bosso have failed to qualify for the Africa U-20 Cup of Nations as well as, by extension, the 2021 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Fear is now rising among lovers of youth football in the country that the Eaglets might follow suit when they commence their own qualifiers in the same neighboring West African nation, but Amoo declared after his side beat a selection of Abuja-based grassroots football players 6-1 in their first test game that he and his wards learnt many lessons from the Flying Eagles’ fall.
This comes hot on the heels of revelations that any of the Eaglets’ players that emerge with MRI scan results on any level beyond Grade 4 will no longer be accommodated in the team, in order to avoid being disqualified at the 2021 U17 AFCON qualifiers next month in Benin Republic.
Information from the Eaglets’ camp indicates that Confederation of African Football (CAF) have announced that, as part of their zero tolerance to age cheating, any team that has a single player faling short of the age test will also be disqualified.
Had that policy been in place two years ago, the Eaglets as a whole would have been sent packing from the U17 WAFU B qualifiers in Niger Republic, after the then captain, Sani Abacha and two other players failed the scans in Niamey.
Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is also taking a cue from the fate that befell Botswana and Eswatini, as they were both sent packing from the U17 AFCON qualifiers for COSAFA due to some of their players failing the age test.
A top official informed SCORENigeria: “The minimum allowed now for a player is Grade 4 and not Grade 5. The team are not ready to take any chances because the disqualification of a single player from now on will mean the elimination of the whole team.”
The NFF and Eaglets’ crew are now working on all lapses ahead of next month’s battles with Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire at the U17 AFCON qualifiers, ahead of which Amoo also assured that they have learnt from the Flying Eagles’ shock exit at the U20 AFCON cadre in Benin Republic.
Amoo declared after his team’s first build-up match at FIFA Goal Project in Abuja: “We saw that the Flying Eagles did not take the many chances they created and that they conceded fouls around their goal.
“We have taken note of these points and we will make sure we don’t make such mistakes. The good thing from the match is that we took our chances and we won. We hope to build on this as we continue to prepare for the U17 AFCON qualifiers.”