28th July, 2011
The Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, has declared that John Obuh, the coach of the Flying Eagles cannot afford to fail Nigerians at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, which kicks off tomorrow in Colombia.
Chief Mike Umeh, the 1st Vice President of the NFF said the football authority has given Obuh and his Flying Eagles everything the team needs to perform well at the youth tournament, adding that the NFF will not accept any excuse for failure from the technical crew.
â€œWe expect the team to do well at the World Cup. We have given them everything they requested for before the commencement of the championship. The team had world class preparation and we are expecting first class performance from them as a mark of appreciation. The simple truth is that Obuh has no excuse to fail and we are not wishing that he fails,â€ Umeh said.
The Flying Eagles had a dismal performance at the recent Fourâ€“Nation Tournament in Panama where the team drew a game against the host team and lost the remaining two games 2-0 to Portugal and 4-1 to the Mexicans.
Umeh said the NFF is anticipating good performance from the team when hostilities begin at the World Cup in Colombia irrespective of the poor outing in Panama.
â€œWe are not disturbed with the poor result in Panama, that is football for you. Sometimes you win or lose. Hopefully, when action begins in the World Cup, the Flying Eagles will have good fortunes at the tournament. I am very optimistic that the team will do well,â€ Umeh said.
Meanwhile, Obuh has warned his players to concentrate on winning their games at the World Cup, rather than thinking about impressing scouts fishing for talents.
Report from fifa.com says that Obuh admitted that some of the players were desperate to seize this opportunity to launch themselves on the global stage, but has urged them to put first things first.
â€œA few players intend to take advantage of this World Cup to awaken the interest of big European clubs and obtain lucrative contracts,â€ he said.
â€œAbove all, they donâ€™t want to stay in Nigeria. I never stop telling my players that they need to learn to take care of things in their proper order.
â€œRight now, they have to focus all their attention on this competition. Thereâ€™ll be time later to negotiate contracts overseas.â€
The tournament begins on Friday, but Obuhâ€™s boys will play their opening game on Sunday against Guatemala in Armenia.
Other teams in the same group with the African champions are Croatia and Saudi Arabia.
â€”Francis Achi /Abuja