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Abdullahi explains why Golden Eaglets faded away after winning U-17 World Cup


Kelechi Iheanacho was the MVP at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World in the UAE.<br />PHOTO: AFP.

Former Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi has revealed that the main reason Golden Eaglets’ players do not fulfill their potential is because they are not properly managed, reports

Using the Golden Eaglets class of 2013 as a case study, Abdullahi noted that only Leicester City striker, Kelechi Iheanacho, who won the Golden Ball award during the tournament in the United Arab Emirates, is playing at a high level.

“I think the challenge is that of managing the transition. I was Minister when we won the U17 World Cup in United Arab Emirates and that’s where Kelechi came from but out of that squad it’s only Kelechi (Iheanacho) that everybody knows,” said Abdullahi.


“There are a couple of others like this other boy Taiwo (Awoniyi) but the rate of attrition is so huge that after winning the World Cup 90 percent of these boys fall by the wayside because there is no system to manage and groom them to national level.”

Abdullahi believes the local league is partly to blame for the former Golden Eaglets players fading into oblivion.

“The underdevelopment of the local league makes it difficult for them to absorb some of these boys and groom their talents whereas in Europe they have a well developed league so these boys can go straight from U17 team and go into some of the well developed clubs.

“In Nigeria, only very few have opportunities to go abroad like Kelechi Iheanacho so the rest fall by the wayside, they either end up in the local league where they will be mismanaged, where they will not be given the proper support, training.

“Don’t forget they are still growing at 17, so at the end of the day they are mismanaged. In a nutshell it’s about management, it’s not about sports,” he concluded.


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