Ex-Super Eagles Player Blames NFF For Golden Eaglets’ Failure In Ghana

Former Super Eagles player, Dimeji Lawal, has blamed the Nigeria Football Federation for the failure of the Golden Eaglets at the 2024 under-17 WAFU B Championship in Ghana.

The Golden Eaglets went into the tournament as the defending champions but weren’t able to withstand Ivory Coast in the semi-final stage of the competition.

Coach Manu Garba and his boys suffered a 1-0 defeat against Ivory Coast in the semi-finals of the tournament on Saturday.

Before then, they drew against Burkina Faso, beat Niger Republic 1-0, and defeated Togo 3-0 to scale through to the last four where they failed to get to the final.

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Now, they risk not qualifying for the Under-17 AFCON which serves as an Under-17 FIFA World Cup qualifier for African countries.

In his post on Facebook, Dimeji Lawal insisted that it is not the fault of coach Manu Garba that the Golden Eaglets didn’t make it to the final of the 2024 Under-17 WAFU championship.

Lawal who represented Nigeria at the 1987 Under-17 World Cup in Canada and the 1989 Under-20 World Cup in Saudi Arabia, said the fire brigade approach of the NFF affected the performance of the team.

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”Major blame should go to the football house; the fire brigade approach in football doesn’t work again; timely and proper preparation is the key,” Dimeji Lawal said.

“In my Eaglets, it took us almost two years to get the best from all nooks and corners of Nigeria. We were thoroughly screened and tutored for the competition proper. You have to be the best to make the team. Every time we lose a major tournament, we quickly condemn and castigate our coaches, as if there is perfection in coaching or other jobs.

“Patients do die in the best hospitals, under the guidance of the best surgeons and experts. A game of football must come with three results: win, draw or lose; sometimes the best doesn’t even get the best results. That’s why it’s a game. Arteta had nothing to show for the season, but Ten Hag won a major trophy.

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”Garba is not a novice; he had done brilliantly well in this competition not once but twice. Losing now should not make him a bad coach. This coach also needs some respect and respite.

”Nigerians with the attitude of pride, as if we own every cup, your father’s farm can only be the biggest because you have not seen other people’s farms. In a game of football, you will always be better on the stage.

“Oyinbo will make sure you remain where you are a specialist. A youth coach provides talents every year; it’s not supposed to be about results or trophies, but about discovering and building. U-17 is not a win-win affair. It’s about building for the future of the Super Eagles.”

Note that the Golden Eaglets will play Ghana in the losers’ final at 5 p.m. later today, May 28.

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