Opinion: Haliru Sarki's absence cost Flying Eagles a place in Fifa U20 World Cup semifinalsPublished: June 05, 2023
The Flying Eagles of Nigeria exited the FIFA U-20 World Cup on Sunday after a 1-0 loss to the Taegeuk Warriors of South Korea.
The loss left the players and many Nigerians watching back home heartbroken considering how well Ladan Bosso's boys have done until yesterday's encounter.
One of Nigeria's best players, Haliru Sarki missed the game having failed to pass a fitness test and his absence was felt.
Albeit the fact that Sarki used to come off the bench, the winger's explosiveness causes the opposition's defence nightmares due to his speed and skill.
That was what Nigeria needed against a well-organized South Korean side.
A player who could take on the opposition defenders, stretch play and put balls in the box but none of the Flying Eagles players was unable to do that.
Jude Sunday and Ibrahim Beji Muhammad, the two other players who could offer something close to Sarki's skillet struggled all game.
Against a tiring South Korean defence, Sarki could have wreaked havoc and created opportunities for his teammates to score.
Though the Flying Eagles had chances to restore parity through Umeh Emmanuel, they would have been better off with Sarki on the pitch.
The 19-year-old absence was largely felt and that cost Nigeria a place in the semifinals of the competition.
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