Not everyone would agree, but Manu Garba was arguably the unsung hero of Nigeria’s success at the U-17 World Cup in the year 2007.
Manu was assistant to the late Coach Yemi Tella alongside Ex-international, Ben Iroha, but seemed to be the late coach’s most trusted hand and sort of did most the job.
Coach Yemi Tella was away all through preparations for the World cup as he stayed behind in Korea for treatment after Nigeria took part in an in an invitational tournament. In his absence Manu Garba was in charge of players screening and It was still him that Tella permitted to do most of the selection, even while he was around because he trusted him to do a fair job.
In a nut shell, Manu Garba was the man behind the selection of the team that went to the U17 World cup and did Nigeria proud. The team joined Coach Yemi Tella in Korea and from there he took over but Manu did all of the hard work.
Manu Garba and his team of Coaches also set a national and maybe African record of consecutive run of games without a loss; but nobody seems to acknowledge that.
The former U-17 Head Coach kicked off a campaign through the qualifiers of the 2013 U-17 Championships but failed on two attempts to get past Ivory Coast, including the 1-0 defeat in the finals in Morocco but that was the last time the Coach lost a game in charge of any of the teams he’s managed so far.
The Eaglets went on to conquer the World in the United Arab Emirates recording 6 victories and 1 draw. Manu then gained promoted to the U-20 Flying Eagles and was commissioned to play several test games before the qualifiers to feature in Senegal in 2015.
After a 6-1 aggregate win (0-2, 4-1) over Tanzania and technical win (Walked over) against Lesotho, Manu lead the team to Senegal where it ghost past every opposition, save Ivory Coast. The final group A game ended 2-2; with a 68th minute Musa Muhammed penalty to earn Nigeria a draw. Another silverware was in the trophy room courtesy of Nigeria’s most successful teenagers in recent times.
That same squad conquered Africa to provide Nigeria with its 7th AYC crown and are now competing with the world’s finest at the World Cup in New Zealand.
Similarly, the Flying Eagles have proven to be a hand-full for teams in the Country’s top flight league, flooring the best four and that includes the League champions Kano Pillars.
In essence it means through October 2013 till date Manu Garba has not lost a game in 14 official matches before the team’s World Cup opening game against Brazil which they lost 4-2; excluding friendlies and test games.
Now he is at the World Cup in New Zealand, guiding the team gradually to glory. Indeed, faith works wonders and i see him and the boys returning to Nigeria with the trophy; I don’t know about you!