Former National Team player, Jonathan Akpoborie, has said that the Manu Garba-led Nigeria U20 Flying Eagles lacked organization in their opening match against Brazil at the ongoing FIFA U20 World Cup.
The Flying Eagles had ended the first half 2-2 with the South Americans before they were destabilized in the second half. Akpoborie stated that the team was not able to soak up the pressure and that affected their performance.
“From what I saw, we lacked organization in our game,” he told PREMIUM TIMES after the match. He, however, said the team is learning despite their loss to Brazil and should not be judged based on the result of one match.
“I must say, the outcome was not too surprising. The boys are on a learning curve and they should not be judged by one game,” he said.
The ex-footballer also rose to the team’s defence by calling on Nigerians to be patient and not heap too much pressure on the boys.
“They are still in their developmental stages, that is why I kept saying they should not pile too much pressure on them, with the win at all cost attitude….and at this level, that is very important, especially in defending,” he added.
The Chile 1987 FIFA World Cup Flying Eagles squad member also advised the team to get rid of any form of negativity and be cautious when they play North Korea on Thursday.
“They just need to get rid of all the negative part of the last game, and keep and work on the positives, before the next game. And at this stage, the team cannot go all out to attack in their next game, but be cautious to see what the opponents are playing like before making decisions,” he concluded.
The Nigeria U20 team 4-2 defeat at the World Cup opener showed the team has yet to get it right despite earlier fears from the Brazilian coach.
The South Americans were able to capitalise on the weak back line and the last line of defence- the goal keeper, to score four goals. Even though they started well, the Nigerians lost coordination and saw their fortunes turned around in the second half.
Though a big defeat, it was not the biggest defeat the Flying Eagles have suffered at the hands of Brazilian opposition. The 11th time finalists have been whipped previously by Brazil 3-0 in 1983 and 4-0 at Chile 1987 FIFA World Cup.
Despite a strong squad which has Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheannacho, Taiwo Awoniyi and wonder goal hero, Bernard Bulbwa, much could not be scored.
Head coach, Manu Garba, has also come to the defence of the team and said maybe the boys were under pressure. Indeed, they did look pressured as they played an uncoordinated match.
Nigerians are now waiting on the team to work on their defence and goal keeping in their match against North Korea and Hungary, probably make a change by introducing Dele Alampasu to replace Joshua Enaholo.