519 was ever present at the screening ground of eligible players who are expected to form the next U-17 set of players for Nigeria and we bring to you the parameters the coach Manu Garba lead technical crew used in picking the 60 successful players who are set to undergo the mandatory MRI test.

The Manu Garba lead team used the basics of goalkepping which includes reflex,shot stopping abilities and decisiveness from crosses but also considered how comfortable the goalkeppers were with the ball at there feet.


Coach Manu like his goalkeppers to act as a sweepers when his team is under attack from quick counters by opponent and also like goalkeppers who are good at initiating counter attack moves from the back.


The full backs were picked with emphasis on how they join the attack,cover their centre backs and defend as usual but the coaches went a step further in assessing how effective they are in the opponent’s half before deciding on the players selected.

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For the central defenders aerial ability was key but the main yardstick from what we observed is the ability to play from the back, be it from long passes or short interplay that keeps the team build from the rear and help keep possession.


Most of the midfielders in the 60 man list of Manu Garba even those selected as defensive midfielders from what we noticed are very good on the ball and all have eyes to pick neat passes even in tight conditions.

Aside the above mentioned, we observed they play with pace and mobility which is key to the way Manu Garba want his team to play as it involves non stop movement on and off the ball from the middle men.

Also the ease with which they pick out passes and carve out openings was a factor but above all from what we observed, there was also emphasis on those who shot from afar and that eqauly gave them an edge which got them selected.

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There still remain a vacancy in this department as we exclusively gathered that the coaches are not entirely satisfied with the options available to them now, however the few on the list were picked base on how well they link up with the rest of the team with their back to goal.

As usual their conversion rate was factored into the selection process with pace an added advantage that gave most of the selected players an edge.

*Ahmed Ishaya