12th August, 2011
Nigeria coach John Obuh said his team beat England in Thursdayâ€™s closely-fought U-20 last-16 tie because they took more risks.
The African champions have been in free-scoring form all tournament, and were expected to overwhelm the Lion Cubs. However the English side stunned the Flying Eagles in the opening half by denying them space for their swashbuckling style, and allowing them few chances on goal.
The deadlock was finally broken in snap shot of brilliance on 52 minutes as Olarenwaju Kayode set up Edafe Egbedi with a super cross and the onrushing forward connected to send the ball to the top left hand corner.
â€œIt was a difficult match but we were the ones who took more risks,â€ BBC Sport quotes Obuh as saying after the game.
â€œI was not happy because of my team were tactically indiscipline,â€ said Obuh after the match.
â€œIt was a difficult game and it affected my players the most because they did not play as a team.
â€œWe caused our problems in this game but I hope by the time we play our next game in Cali, we would have corrected some of the mistakes seen against England.â€
His counterpart Brian Eastwick blamed clubs back home for weakening Englandâ€™s chances in youth competitions and insisted that only a policy reversal can make a difference.
Over 30 players eligible to play for the Cubs including top-flight stars like Jack Wilshere of Arsenal and Chelseaâ€™s Josh McEachran were not released by their clubs.
â€œIf you look at the results, you can say it was a failure,â€ Eastick said.
â€œThe only way to change that is to change regulations to make the clubs release their players.â€
Nigeria will face France on Sunday after Les Bleuets beat Ecuador 1-0.
Meanwhile, Nigeria are feeling right at home in Colombia, having won all four of their games at the competition, a first for the Flying Eagles. As a mark of gratitude for the hospitality shown towards them, coach John Obuh has even taken to wearing a natty Colombian hat. â€œItâ€™s my way of saying thank you for the support the people of Colombia have given us,â€ the trendsetting coach later explained. â€œI hope to keep on wearing it right through to the end of the tournament.â€
A highly relieved Flying Eagles party left Armenia yesterday morning on a three and half hour bus ride to Cali, the capital city of Salsa music with a predominantly negro population and very hot weather conditions.