Don’t blame players, coaches for Eaglets’ poor run, says Shorunmu
Former Super Eagles international, Ike Shorunmu, has urged football loving Nigerians not to castigate the Golden Eaglets and the coaching crew for the team’s poor showing in the ongoing West Africa Football Union (WAFU B) U-17 Tournament holding in Lome, Togo.
Shorunmu told The Guardian after the Eaglets 1-1 score draw against Ghana’s Black Starlets in the second game of the championship on Saturday, that inadequate structure not put in place to develop grassroots football in the country has left other countries to catch up with Nigeria, once dreaded in cadet competition.
He said that the country is currently in a phase where cadet teams are now facing the challenge of excelling in the African and international tournament occasioned by maladministration and poor planning, adding that stakeholders no longer pay attention to harnessing young talents across the country.
Shorunmu noted that blaming the players and coaches in the WAFU B championship would not in any way rule out the fact that basic planning and preparations needed to groom young players for any international championships were not being put in place by the football authorities to ensure that the team had a good outing in Togo.
“Eaglets still have the chance to pick the continental ticket if Cote d’Ivoire beat Ghana. Writing off the team at this point is not good. This is football and any thing can happen. But I want to plead with football loving Nigerians not to blame the Eaglets and their coaches for the team’s performance in Togo.
“Other countries that are serious maintain their dominance in football and are striving hard to remain at the top. For Nigeria that has been the best in age group competitions in Africa and at the world level, there is no basic structure put in place to discover players and work with them to develop.
“In other climes, academies and youth leagues are organised to pick upcoming stars and groom them to stardom. Nigeria is currently in a situation where the dominance of the cadet teams has been hijacked by other African countries. Structures need to be put in place as quickly as possible to return the country to its top rating in age group competitions,” he stated.