15th August, 2011
Coach of Nigeriaâ€™s Under-20 football team, John Obuh, believes the Flying Eagles lost their quarter final in the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia to a better French team last night.
France showed the stuff of champions when they overcame a crushing last-gasp equaliser in regulation time to beat Nigeria 3:2 in the quarter-finals of the World Youth Championship (WYC) in Cali.
Two goals by substitute Alexandre Lacazette either side of a brilliant Gueida Fofana goal, ensured the European champions progressed at the expense of the African champions.
Nigeriaâ€™s two goals were scored by substitute Ejike Maduabuchi. His first touch took the game into extra time with the last move of regulation time, while the second gave the Flying Eagles hope for a second comeback.
Obuh said after the match that his players failed to stamp their authority in the midfield battle against France, who have a smooth ride to their first semi final of the WYC in history.
According to the coach, the Nigerian team lost with their heads high, but itâ€™s painful that they came short of the expectations of Nigerians, who wanted them to get to the final of the tourney.
â€œIt is sad to leave the tournament like that. And I think it was kind of unexpected because we knew we could have won this match. But our effort wasnâ€™t enough in the end. We had a great opponent and the match was very tight. I think the big difference is that they took advantage of the chances they created. Anyway, we leave Colombia very happy,â€ he said.
â€œI think after Colombia lost, the public adopted us and made us feel like locals. I told my guys that they can leave with their heads up because they played a huge tournament. It is a great generation as shown in the U-17 two years ago. I think my players are on the right path to form the base of the senior national team in the years to come,â€ Obuh added.
Meanwhile, former coach of the Flying Eagles, Tunde Disu, has said that Obuh should be blamed for the loss, adding that the players were not mature with the formation he used in the match.
According to the Technical Director of the Lagos Junior League (LJL), Obuh should have known the strength of his team before adopting a match strategy that made the defence porous and expose the technical weakness of the midfielders.
â€œThis is a lesson that we paid dearly for,â€ he said.