Posted by By CHIMABI UCHENDU on
It is another success story for Youth football development in Nigeria, with the excellent performance of the Flying Eagles in Holland.
It is another success story for Youth football development in Nigeria, with the excellent performance of the Flying Eagles in Holland. This is one of the many successes that have been poorly managed by Nigeria’s football authorities.
For instance, Nigeria won the maiden edition of the KODAK Under-17 Championship in 1985, two years later Nigeria was in the final again.
But the irony is that young talents that have done Nigeria proud in these tournaments have been left to rot, either through neglect by the authorities, who allow them to reach decisions that have cut short their rise to stardom, or led them to self destruction.
Daily Sunsport went to town to seek the opinion of the public, who are knowledgeable in the development of youth football in the country, to lend their voice on what should be done to the present victorious Flying Eagles so as to avoid the mistakes the like of Philip Osondu and Etim Esin made, which later ruined their career.
Niyi Alebiosu, Tribune Newspapers
This topic is well timed and I am grateful Nigerians are showing concern about the future of our football. Our young players have suffered in the past because nobody cared about them after these victories. However, I must tell you one thing, that players we used in the past were over-aged. Their age was really the problem. To buttress this argument, for instance, some players in those teams got good clubs in Europe and broke even. The like of Ikpeba and Kanu are products of youth success and they went ahead and played at the highest level in their careers.
In all sincerity, the victorious Flying Eagles’ team to the ‘Netherlands 2005’ fiesta are really under-aged players. They were sourced locally with few of them from foreign clubs.
My advice is that those that are playing in the local league should not be in a hurry to go abroad, rather they should consolidate on their performance and integrate into the national team. If they rush for foreign clubs they mighty be sold into slavery.
NFA, on the other hand, should monitor them, irrespective of the clubs they play for. They should also organise grade A friendlies, where they would be playing regularly. Again they should graduate immediately to the Olympic team. They should not be rushed into the national team, rather it should be a gradual process.
Wale Quadri, Champions Newspapers
The issue of one or two players coming out in a victorious team is not peculiar to Nigeria.
Nigeria, however, is lucky to have talented youths. The future of these players lie in how they are managed by NFA. My advice to the present Flying Eagles is that they should be cautious in what they do, especially as it concerns contract signing with foreign clubs. This has ruined most of our young players in the past. The NFA should expose them to enough competitions, either within Africa or in Europe, to keep them intact as a team.
They should also not be in a hurry to graduate into the Super Eagles, rather they should go for the Olympics gold medal first, and then graduate gradually. There is no doubt that their success will rule their heads, considering their age. So, a counsellor should be around to monitor their progress and performances with the various clubs they belong to. NFA, on the other hand, should intervene in whatever contract they are to enter into with various clubs.
It would not be possible to camp them together for a long time because of club commitments, but sponsors should be brought in to make sure they are camped at least a month before any championship.
Yemi Fagbolagun, Brilla FM
Nigeria is fortunate to have a collection of good players in the age youth categories. The heart-warming part of it is that these boys are very young, but they must be guided on how to sign contracts with foreign clubs, in other not to end up like other players in the past.
NFA should play an active role in any contract they enter into, afterall licenses are issued by NFA, therefore, and they should scrutinise the contents of the contracts before they put pen on paper. It should not end there; NFA should also monitor their progress properly, just as it is done in other parts of the world.
Some of these players should also be drafted to the Super Eagles to understudy the older players and not to play active role at least for now. The Olympic team should be their priority for now. If the players are kept together to represent Nigeria at the Olympics, I bet you they will be the hottest cake in Europe.
Segun Oguntade, Retired referee
Siasia should graduate with the Flying Eagles into the Olympic team, since it has been established that he has the charisma to lead these boys. As was noticed during the last game, the boys need maturity, and any attempt to impose higher responsibility on them could lead to their crashing from the height they have achieved. The problem with our youth team proprietors is that too many players are used to persecute a championship, from the qualifiers to the event proper. Take, for instance, a situation where about 200 players are used in the course of a championship, is not good enough. There should be an effort to checkmate this trend. Again, the contract of these players should be monitored to include that they would be released to play for their country when the need arises.
Ahmed Jumare, Former Flying Eagles player
My major concern is the contract these boys would enter into, after this success. Any of them that signs a wrong contract now is finished, as far as his football career is concerned.
NFA should not rush them into the national team, rather they should make efforts to draft the entire team into the Under-23 team and inject them gradually into the Super Eagles. Any of these players that misses it now would be out of it for the rest of his career. This is what killed the careers of our past youth players.
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