The Nigeria U20 team popularly called the Flying Eagles were beaten 2-0 by Senegal in the final game of the WAFU U20 Championship which took place in Togo yesterday.
Owngoalnigeria.com monitored the performance of the team at the tournament and our correspondent after several consultation with people who watched the games involving the Nigerian team picked five reasons why the boys of Paul Aigbogun fail to fly at the regional tournament.
1. Depleted Squad: The players paraded by the coach are not in anyway the best he has and not the players he has been working with since his appointment as coach of the team.
Players like Mike Zarumma and the Kano Pillars duo of Nazifi Yahaya and Alhassan Ibrahim were seriously missed by the team during the tournament as they are on trails with Brondby of Denmark, Zarumma was excluded due to his age, same as striker Jesse Akila.
2. Blunt Attack – Without first and second choice main strikers Nazifi Yahaya and Jesse Akila respectively the team struggled to find their rhythm in attack although Victor Boniface did impress as the main striker. Tried as they could, the duo of Wasiu Alalade and Effiom Michael Maxwell were guilty of fluffing chances they should bury with ease.
3. Creativity Lacking In Midfield : Again the issue of players with ability to carve defences open for the strikers to pounce troubled the team just as it was during the qualifiers. The onus is now on the coaches to address the apparent weak spot before the start of the U20 Africa Cup of Nations.
4. Central Defense Weakest Spot : Without his regular pair in central defence Olisema Ekene Nero, Valentine Ozornwafor looked lost playing alongside Aliu Olasunkunmi in the heart of Nigeria’s defence at the WAFU U20 Championship. The need to get quality options in central defence is more of a necessity than strengthening any area of the team.
5. Poor Tactics – This came last as the coaches were made to work with players who were mostly playing in an international competitive tournament for the first time. That said the Nigerians were generally predictable when it comes to making substitutions and also switching formations during games.