As the Golden Eagles march on to the next round of the U-17 World Cup we cast our light on what has been a wonderful outing so far from Nigeria point of view.
The Golden Eaglets have enjoyed success in the group stages with a resounding victory over U.S.A and host Chile. Even with the Croatia defeat they are undoubtedly flying Nigeria’s flag high in far away Chile.
The way they mauled there Australian counterpart 6-0 have proven a vital message to the world, what there intentions are, which is lifting the trophy once more.
On this note SoccerNet Nigeria evaluates significant lessons from the Golden Eaglets campaign so far.
OSIMHEM LIVING TO THE HYPE
The 16 years old have not taken time in the World Cup to register him name as a star of the future with magnificent performances as he road already notched in seven goals with four matches played.
The forward started making wave right from the qualifying series including in the tune up games. Osimhen is a player who has an eye for goal and his accuracy and composure is a true confirmation of his quality. He was ruthless against the Australian and will surely be a threat going into the next games.
His calmness and adaptation to pressure had made him seize the lead in the goal scoring chart at the tournament with seven goals in 4 games. Expect the 16 years forward to continue in this rich vein of form in the U-17 tournament. That already showed why he was tipped for great thing and he is not a let down to that feats.
EAGLETS ATTACKING FORAY
The Golden Eaglets have not look back where they left off in the group stage with a convincing victory over Australians. It would have just been three more goals and they would completely spell their opponent Australia. Such was how good the Golden Eaglets was in the attacking section.
As they say the best forum of defence is attack, the Golden eaglets have been relentless, attacking their opponent through the channel and bang in goal with no mercy. The beauty of their game is their quick moment which is just a mix of pace and incisive passes and their understanding and movement makes them a difficult opponent to contend with.
It just reminds us about the lethal combo of Yahaya, Awoniyi, and Iheanacho in the previous edition. The quality in their game is awesome and just like Africans are naturally sprinters their quick transition play hastens their linkup to the final third given the opponent little time to recover.
NEW TALENT UNVEILED
Some Nigerians really believe that there is a death of talent in the country. Many believe that we lack talent and that is why our National team have struggle over the years.
There will always be a reference to the 1994 set of players that paraded players of immense talent like Samson Siasia, Sunday Oliseh, Ben Iroha, Uche Okechukwu, Stephen Keshi ,Daniel Amokachi and the mercurial Austin Okocha to name but few, but in these Golden Eaglets there is hope because new talent have been discovered.
The quartet of Victor Osimhen, Samuel Chukwueze, Chukwudi Agor and Kelechi Nwakali have shown promise in the tournament with their quality display. There is no doubt about their talent and Nigerians who have followed their matches would agree that new talent have been unveiled for Nigeria and the future would hopefully be bright as regards to the current Golden Eaglets.
RESTORE NIGERIA (FOOTBALL) PRIDE
The Golden Eaglets with their class and Charisma have shown the world that we know how to play football. In the early 2000 during the Nigeria vs. Tunisia match which ended 4-2 in the favour of the Super Eagles there was clear indication of class within the Nigerian team as the match commentator was in so much ecstasy mentioning names of the Nigerian players.
He notably admired the Nigeria game saying it is known for its flair and creativity as Nigeria lined up in 4 -4-2 formation with Garba Lawal, Tijani Babangida, Kanu and Victor Ikpeba leading the forward lines.
There was so much class and dexterity as Kanu set up Ikpeba with a sublime back heel pass as the overwhelmed crowd in Lagos were lost in celebration. Nigeria pedigree was high then but some poor result over the years have soiled Nigerian respect in the beautiful game coupled with failure in qualification for major tournament especially by our senior teams.
We had to rely on individual brilliance to win games as our teams lacked conviction but with the performance of the 2015 Golden Eaglets ,the Nigerian pride are been restored as scouts are keeping in touch to see the next big talent for the future.
CREDIT TO THE TECHNICAL CREW
The U-17 world cup began on October 17 2015 with the defending champions Nigeria (Golden Eaglets) going into the tournament as one of the favourite by virtue of our pedigree and history at this level but back home many will not have attested to that because not much was known about the team.
Criticism have been directed to Emmanuel Amuneke and co with reference to the class of 2013 that produce talent that wowed the world with their attacking style. Many felt that the team would not live up to the billing. After a low key outing at the African tournament were the Eaglets lost even the third place match to finish fourth in the tournament qualifying in an unconvincing style the Nigerian public did not muster faith in the current side but with the performance of this team credit must to go the coaching and technical crew led by Amuneke who offered sleepless night to improve the team for the better.
As the quarter-finals against the junior samba boys of Brazil looms, even in victory or defeat the Golden Eaglets might have done enough to prove their mettle wrong.
Obiweluozo Martins For SoccerNet Nigeria