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AFCON U17: Manu Garba explains why Golden Eaglets failed to secure World Cup ticket

Former Golden Eaglets coach Manu Garba has blamed Nigeria’s failure to qualify for this year’s FIFA U17 World Cup on overconfidence, according to Soccernet.ng.

Garba rejected suggestions that the current team be promoted to the Flying Eagles, instead emphasizing the need to address tactical and finishing issues that were affecting their performance.

The Golden Eaglets were defeated 2-1 by Burkina Faso in the quarterfinals of the U17 AFCON in Algeria, resulting in their failure to qualify for the World Cup under the guidance of Garba’s former assistant, Nduka Ugbade.


Garba emphasized that the team’s overconfidence hampered their ability to remain calm and composed in front of the goal, resulting in anxiety and missed opportunities.

While praising the team’s physical fitness and technical abilities, Garba expressed concern about their tactical shortcomings, particularly the two center-backs’ struggles with ground balls.

After watching their gameplay, he advised his teammates to work on the team’s finishing in order to improve their performance.

Garba emphasized the team’s high number of chances created, even in losses to Morocco and Burkina Faso.

However, the players’ over-anxiety and possible distractions from agents appeared to have hampered their decision-making on the field, resulting in shots taken from a long distance away from the goal.


“The key factor was that they were overconfident that they would beat Burkina Faso, and as a result, calmness and composure in front of goal was not there, there was anxiety to score, this was a major problem,” Manu, who led Nigeria to U17 World Cup victories in 2007 and 2013, said.

“The team was physically fit and technically sound, but there were some tactical issues.”

“I was uncomfortable with the two center-backs because they struggled with ground balls.”

“After watching them play, I told my teammates to work on the team’s finishing.”

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“Even in the games we lost against Morocco, we created the most chances, but they were overly anxious.”

“We can’t rule out agent distractions, so some of these boys were playing for themselves, shooting far away from goal.”

The former coach expressed his dissatisfaction with Nigeria’s failure to qualify for the U17 World Cup.

Given Nigeria’s historic dominance in this age group, Garba expected the team to at least qualify for the tournament.

As the team evaluates their performance, the coaching staff and players must address the issues of overconfidence, tactical deficiencies, and finishing.

These areas need to be prioritized in order for the Nigerian U17 team to reclaim their dominant position and excel in future competitions.

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