Nigeria Paraded Overaged Players, 'U-23 Eagles Not There Yet ' –Tanzania

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Chief Coach of Tanzania’s U-23 team, Jemhurki Kihwelo, has attributed their 0-3 loss to Nigeria’s Dream Team V in a London 2012 qualifying match played in Benin, Edo State yesterday, to the alleged overaged players fielded by their hosts.

The Tanzanian team were no match to the country’s U-23 Eagles, as they were completely overwhelmed in the match played at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin.

Speaking after his team’s defeat, Kihwelo said that with the 1-0 advantage they recorded in the first leg of the qualifier at home, his wards came to Nigeria to consolidate and win yesterday’s encounter. But they found it difficult to realise their dream due to the powerful players they played against in the Nigerian team.

According to the coach, Nigeria paraded players that were far beyond the stipulated age for the Olympic qualifier, hence their scandalous loss to the Coach Austin Eguavoen-tutored side.

Kihwelo said if Nigeria had brought players, who were at par with his players, the outcome of the game would have been different.

“Nigerian players are old; I want to believe that they are overaged players. How do you expect my players to defeat such a team? he queried.

He, however, admitted that the Nigerian side were better technically and tactically, adding that he has no regret losing to a better side.

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In his words: “My players are all playing in the Tanzania Premier League, but most of the players in the Nigerian team came from Europe. They were better than my boys, no doubt about that, but I suspect their age.”

Meanwhile, despite their victory over Tanzania, Coach Eguavoen believes that his U-23 Eagles have not reached their pinnacle.

He argued that the team would have embarked on a goal scoring spree, but were careless in front of goal. Eguavoen disclosed that their aim was to score more than three goals, but that the players wasted many chances.

“I wouldn’t say we are there yet because we had every chance to score many goals. My strikers were goal shy; they failed to convert some begging chances. Anyway, we have to thank God for giving us this victory,” he said.

—Adebobola Alawode/Benin