With youth football nearly in comatose state, Nigeria’s most successful youth football coach, Manu Garba, has urged the incoming board of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) , to revitalize the development of the game from the grassroots, adding the outgoing board did little or nothing to build on the success recorded by their predecessors.
Garba, two-time FIFA U-17 World Cup winners in 2007 in Korea and 2013 in the UAE, argued lack of good reward system for youth teams in recent years has eroded the chances of the country at both the U-17 and U-20 levels.
Garba who recently led Abuja- based Mailantarki Care FC to win both the Dana Cup in Denmark and the Norway Cup in Oslo, said youth football has suffered hugely under the current dispensation hence his clarion call.
“ We need to work on our infrastructure in order to go back to the winning ways with our youth teams,” Garba told Abuja Info FM on the margins of a dinner hosted by Bilaad Realty to celebrate Mailantarki Care FC’s European Championship glory.“ We had about 31 pitches in Oslo where we won the Norway Cup.
“And as far back as 2009 when I won the Umbro Cup with a secondary school team from Gombe in England where we had about 25 pitches and I did tell a former Arsenal executive David Dein that if Nigeria have half of those infrastructure, we would easily win the senior World Cup.
“ But that has not been the case and I recalled when we won the U-17 World Cup in 2013 under Alhaji Aminu Maigari, our allowances and match bonuses were promptly paid but you cannot say the same thing for this time around.
Garba who led the Flying Eagles to win the U-20 AFCON in 2015, chided the NFF for not consulting him on matters concerning youth football development despite his immense experience and achievements in cadet competitions.