In the wake of Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets’ failure to secure a World Cup ticket after their quarterfinal exit from the U17 AFCON, the question arises: should coach Nduka Ugbade be relieved of his duties?
The answer is a resounding no.
Despite the disappointment, Ugbade should be allowed to continue in his role and build on the team’s foundation.
While it is evident that improvements are needed tactically, it is important to acknowledge that Ugbade fielded a competitive side in Algeria, except for a lethal striker.
Furthermore, the coach worked with a young team that required time to acclimate to the challenges of the tournament.
Rather than rushing to judgment, Ugbade should be allowed to immediately begin preparations for the next edition, armed with the valuable experience gained from this campaign.
One crucial point in favour of retaining Ugbade is his commitment to fair play. He refrained from utilizing overage players, showcasing his dedication to developing young talent. As a skilled coach, he can impart knowledge and nurture promising players.
The U17 level is primarily focused on player development, and Ugbade is the ideal figure to guide youngsters through this critical phase of their careers.
It is worth noting the success of the Senegalese football project, which has consistently excelled without relying on foreign coaches.
Instead of discarding Ugbade, it would be prudent to study and learn from Senegal’s approach.
Ugbade’s retention would ensure continuity and foster the production of future stars while simultaneously exploring avenues to enhance the team’s performance.
In conclusion, while the Golden Eaglets’ failure to secure a World Cup spot is disappointing, it is crucial to recognise the potential and dedication of coach Nduka Ugbade. By retaining him, Nigeria can tap into his expertise, consolidate the team’s progress, and continue to develop a strong foundation for future success.