'Something is wrong somewhere' - Abuja club chief blasts Ugbade over U17 AFCON failurePublished: May 15, 2023
The failure of the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria to pick a World Cup ticket at the ongoing Africa U17 Cup of Nations in Algeria has continued to raise dust among stakeholders.
The coach Nduka Ugbade-led team wobbled and fumbled throughout the group stage and were eventually knocked out in the quarterfinal by Burkina Faso.
It means Nigeria, five times world champions at this level, misses out of the World Cup to be played latter in the year.
Here in the Nigeria many believe Nigeria did not present her best legs at the tournament, with several persons pointing accusing fingers at the head coach Nduka Ugbade.
For Khamisu Ahmed Mailantarki, a Governorship aspirant in Gombe State during the just concluded general election, he believes Coach Ugbade could have presented a better team.
"As a Nigerian and a patriotic Nigerian, I am very sad, it is not because we don't have the players to beat any team in the world, but it is because of the modus operandi of the selection," Mailantarki said.
"The NFF has work to do because, we saw it coming, right from the onset. I happen to have some Under-17 players, very good players, that at a point the management called everyone to confess that these are the two most performing players in the national team camp. But unfortunately at the end of the exercise they were dropped.
"I asked for a reason, the national team coach was telling me that because they cannot communicate. I said how can you say communication, does that really matter in football?
“He was assuring the team that was saving them for the World Cup. How can you go to the World Cup when you don't go with the best player? You left your best at home, saying you're saving them for the World Cup? I say something is wrong, I prayed for him and I wish him success, but look at what happened?
"So, the selection process, I think the NFF has to come up with measures that will make sure that we don't leave the best simply because they don't have someone to push them or they don't have someone to stand for them.
"Let the merit work, that is why I always commend and I always appreciate Manu Garba. When he was the national team coach, he switches players even in the friendly matches."
Mailantarki continued : “There was a team that played a friendly match with them even right here in Nigeria, they beat them 6-4 or there about with outstanding players, you can imagine none of of the players of this team participated at the AFCON, meaning something is wrong somewhere.
"We have to be very practical about our selection and we cannot allow only the coaches to do what they have done in the face of every stakeholder, to drop the best players.
"We should have a way to make case for this because, this is a national issue, it is not all about the coaches, it is about the entire people of Nigeria. So we have to get the best to represent Nigeria.”
Khamisu, owner of Mailantarki Care F.C, Abuja who spoke with the media at the Area 3 playground, Abuja, believes Nigeria has what it takes to be among the best in the world.
“We have abundant footballers, 300 million population, we should be one of the best in the world of football with this population. We are not presenting the best and we have to look at the measure where coaches should work based on merit even if they have personal interest, merit should take place.
“We have the best and we can do better, our national team have tried but we can do better,” he concluded.
Coach Nduka Ugbade a proponent of scientific football, became the head coach of the Golden Eaglets for the first time in 2022, haven previously served as an assistant to coach Manu Garba.
His contract was performance based and may have lost his job by not securing a World Cup ticket.
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