Flying Eagles attack, defence not good enough for World Cup – Manu Garba
By Emmanuel Afonne
Former Golden Eaglets Coach, Manu Garba, has urged Flying Eagles handlers to ensure they fortify the team’s midfield and attack before the start of the Under-20 World Cup in Indonesia in May.
Garba, who gave the charge on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, also said that the defence has some deficiencies.
He said the team had done well to qualify for the World Cup but that a lot needs to be done to get the team ready for the tournament.
“The main reason for attending the AFCON Under-20 competition was for the team to qualify for the World Cup and the team has done well to qualify.
“But the coaches need to work on some grey areas, especially in our finishing and transition from defence to attack.
“They also need three good players to fortify the team in the midfield and attack.
“World Cup is the University of the Game, you have to bring your best players whether foreign or local, the most important thing is that a player going to the world cup must be technically and tactically good.
“So from my own experience, if we have some good players playing abroad, they should be invited. We don’t need players who sit on the bench to come and gatecrash into the team.
“We need players that play regularly to come and fortify the team. Any player coming into the team must be better than the ones we have now,” Garba said.
According to Garba, the goalkeeping position of the team is okay as there are no good goalkeeper and no bad goalkeeper.
Garba who is now the coach of an Abuja clubside, Mailantarki FC, said goalkeepers perform badly when defenders and other players expose them to danger, thereby conceding goals.
“We need to work on our defence, especially on how to stop the ball from coming to the goalkeeper, but the goalkeeping position doesn’t have any issue per say,” he said.
He noted that the difference between the Flying Eagles and the Young Teranga Lions of Senegal was that most of them played together at Under-17 level.
“Senegalese team has bunch of players that graduated from the Under-17 to Under-20, so they are used to playing with each other and that is why they played so cohesively.
“Before the Under-17, most of the players came from one academy, Diambars football academy. Almost half of the team came from there, then, others came from one or two other academies.
“Most of the players have been together so it was very easy for the coach to add his own tactical awareness but for the Flying Eagles, I don’t think more than two players are from the Under-17.
“And it wasn’t easy for the Flying Eagles coaches because of lack of transition from under-17 to under-20 team.
“So, it is not easy to beat a team that has stayed together more than one year.
“However, if we still work with this set of players with few inclusions, we can beat any team. Look at the match against Senegal, our boys created a lot of chances but couldn’t utilise them,” Garba added.
The coach also added that transition of players don’t usually exist depending on the type of players a coach needs to execute his match.
The lack of transition depends on the coach because every coach has the type of player he needs to execute his match. Secondly, the players in the last Under-17 are not doing well in their various clubs or academies.
“But it is always good for half of the Under-17 players to graduate to the Under-20 team, so long as the players are doing well in their various clubs or academies.”
It would be recalled that Garba led the Golden Eaglets to lift the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2013 and he also led the Flying Eagles to win the Under-20 Africa Cup of Nations Championship in 2015. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Vincent Obi