U-20 World Cup: Flying Eagles deserve praise after Argentina win, says ex-coach

Written by on June 2, 2023

Former Golden Eaglets coach Manu Garba said on Thursday that the Flying Eagles deserved more accolades after they knocked out host Argentina from the ongoing U-20 FIFA World Cup.

The Flying Eagles, against all odds, produced two classical goals to defeat the South American team in the round of 16 match played on Wednesday night.

In an interview on Thursday, Garba said that beating Argentina was like winning the World Cup, considering the challenges involved in playing a host country in any tournament.

He also said that the technical crew, led by Ladan Bosso, worked on the grey areas noticed in previous matches, especially at the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations, in which Senegal were crowned champions.

Garba said, “The Flying Eagles deserve all accolades to have come out of the group to beat host Argentina, which have won the Under-20 World Cup on six occasions.

“Most importantly, the coaches worked on the grey areas of the team, so to speak. The team deserve praises because you can see that the Senegalese team who are the African Champions, did not progress from their group.

“Right from the time of the draws, the Flying Eagles group, comprising Brazil, Italy and Dominican Republic, was tagged the group of death.

“Just like we had in the Under-17 in 2013, when we had in our group defending champions, Mexico and Sweden playing in the final and third-place match.

He recalled that Nigeria went on to win the U-17 World Cup, with Mexico winning the silver and Sweden, third; all from the same group.

“We now have the three teams in the Flying Eagles’ group making it to the quarter-finals which means that their group was truly the strongest,” Garba said.

Garba reiterated that the team coach, Bosso, deserves more accolades having headed to the advice of many stakeholders and dropping some players after the U-20 AFCON tournament.

He, however, disagreed with the argument that the Flying Eagles players displayed individual talents and strength against Argentina as there was no technical input from the coaches.

“You know they dropped some players after the AFCON tournament, especially in the midfield and the attacking line.

“In coaching, the selection of players is part of the coach’s input and they must be reading the match as it progresses, so one cannot say that the team depended only on the strength of the players.

“Though Argentina didn’t qualify for the World Cup from South America, they qualified as the host nation, but all South American teams are technically good,” he explained.

Garba urged the players and their coaches to do their best to win their encounters in the regulated period to avoid penalties.

He noted that with penalties, the game can go either way.

“Government should try and motivate them further. They need more motivation, and I know NFF will do just that,” he stated.

Garba also urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the team for more victories.

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