Nigeria finished fourth at the recently concluded Africa U20 Cup of Nations in Niger Republic and as expected many have expressed their disappointment at the performance of the Flying Eagles at the tournament.we take a look at the team critically in this piece tagged the good, the bad and ugly side of the Paul Aigbogun led team.
Above all the aim of the tournament is to qualify for the World Youth Championship in Poland and the Nigerian team made the list of four teams from Africa who will represent the continent at U20 level on the global stage.
Furthermore, the defence of the team and their goalkeepers were among the best five at the tournament and considering the need to have young defenders and a goalkeeper to understudy the ones in the senior team, this team has somehow provided options. The quartet of Valentine Ozornwafor, Igho Ogbu, Mike Zaruma and Ikouwem Utin were rock solid as a the back four of the team why young goalkeeper Olawale Oremade stood tall as first choice.
Disappointment of not lifting the trophy for a record eight time and generally the not too impressive performance of the team as a whole at the tournament. The fact that the three coaches handling the team are rated among the best three coaches in the Nigeria Professional Football League ( NPFL) it’s normal for one to expect more from the team.Overall their short coming in terms of the squad selection for the tournament made it almost impossible to make game changing substitutes in games where the team needed something new from the bench.
Overall their style of play ranked among the worst Nigeria have displayed at this level. It wasn’t pretty to the eyes as even in victory they still didn’t convince. One would have expected a coordinated and entertaining display base on the length of time they spent in camp.
From the midfield, there was no player creating from deep and high up the pitch no creative player to split open defences. In attack the forward players were static without the ball and that gave the midfielders little or no option to play with.Simply put, their style of play was an eye sore particularly to those who are use to watching Nigeria entertain at this level during previous tournaments.