Nigeria U20 assistant coach,
Nduka Ugbade feels that the
technical crew’s limited time
to work on the foreign-based
players was the key reason
why the Flying Eagles failed at
the 2015 FIFA U20 World Cup
in New Zealand.
Manchester City prodigy
Kelechi Iheanacho,
Tottenham’s Musa Yahaya and
Granada striker, Isaac Promise
were all left to play mini roles
in Nigeria’s campaign.
Many had expected Manu
Garba’s team to rule the
world after their brilliant
display at the African Youth
Championship where they
emerged winners, but they
crashed out on the world
stage in the second round after
losing 1-0 to Germany.
“That was not what we
expected considering what the
team has achieved all through
the year but at this point, it is
very difficult to analyse what
the situation is,” Ugbade told
“The error we made was
bringing the foreign-based
players into the team and not
having enough time to work
with them. It really affected
the team psychologically and
it became very difficult to
come out of it until we crashed
out of the competition against
“For almost one year and
a half, we had not worked
together. The fitness level and
tactical approach in U20 were
totally different from what
was obtainable at U17.”
The former Super Eagles
player also explained why
his team lost to Brazil and
Germany in the championship.
“At the U17 level, it was
training to compete while
at the U20 level it was high
performance. This affected
our psyche. In our first game
against Brazil, we were
supposed to win because we
created a lot of chances,” he
“In terms of playing, there
was limited technical ability
on the part of individual
players when compared with
the South Americans, this
really affected the team.
“Psychology comes into
a game such as that coming
from the belief that they
scored a lot of goals in the
group stage. The weather was
too cold in Christchurch as
well as the one in Plymouth
and it affected us a lot.”
Ugbade admitted that
it was going to be difficult
keeping the team together,
but is sure if the boys are
well managed, they would
someday rule the world.
“One is not going to be able
to keep them together for a
long period of time because
of the trend in world football.
Most of the players would
get teams abroad, while
some will remain in the local
league,” he added.
“The key thing here is for
us to correct our mistakes in
New Zealand and hope for
a brighter future. If against
all odds Serbia could win the
U20 World Cup, who says
these boys in many years
to come can’t win the Fifa
World Cup for Nigeria?,” he

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