Nduka Ugbade explains why Flying Eagles failed at 2015 Fifa U20 World Cup

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Nigeria U20 assistant coach, Nduka Ugbade feels that the technical crew’s limited time to work on the foreign-based players was the key reason why the Flying Eagles failed at the 2015 Fifa U20 World Cup in New Zealand.
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Manchester City prodigy Kelechi Iheanacho, Tottenham’s Musa Yahaya and Granada striker Isaac Promise were all left to play mini roles in Nigeria’s campaign.
Many had expected Manu Garba’s team to rule the world after their brilliant display at the African Youth Championship where they emerged winners, but they crashed out on the world stage in the second round after losing 1-0 to Germany.

“That was not what we expected considering what the team has achieved all through the year but at this point, it is very difficult to analyse what the situation is,” Ugbade told Goal.

“The error we made was bringing the foreign-based players into the team and not having enough time to work with them. It really affected the team psychologically and it became very difficult to come out of it till we crashed out of the competition against Germany.

“For almost one year and a half, we had not worked together. The fitness level and tactical approach in U20 were totally different from what was obtainable at U17.”

The former Super Eagles player also explained why his team lost to Brazil and Germany in the championship.

“At the U17 level, it was training to compete while at the U20 level it was high performance. This affected our psyche. In our first game against Brazil, we were supposed to win because we created a lot of chances,” he continued.

“In terms of playing, there was limited technical ability on the part of individual players when compared with the South Americans, this really affected the team.

“Psychology comes into a game such as that coming from the belief that they scored a lot of goals in the group stage. The weather was too cold in Christchurch as well as the one in Plymouth and it affected us a lot.”

Ugbade admitted that it was going to be difficult keeping the team together but is sure if the boys are well managed, they would someday rule the world.

“One is not going to be able to keep them together for a long period of time because of the trend in world football. Most of the players would get teams abroad, while some will remain in the local league,” he added.

“The key thing here is for us to correct our mistakes in New Zealand and hope for a brighter future. If against all odds Serbia could win the U20 World Cup, who says these boys in many years to come can’t win the Fifa World Cup for Nigeria?,” he concluded.

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