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‘Lack of sports intelligence killed Golden Eaglets’


Golden Eaglets’ reserved bench in shock, when Cote d’Ivoire raced to 3-0 lead before Nigeria pulled two goals back in Monday night’s final of the WAFU U-17 tournament in Togo Photo:

The 2-3 defeat suffered by the Golden Eaglets in the hands of the Baby Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in the final of WAFU U-17 Cup tournament in Lome, Togo on Monday, has been attributed to lack of sports intelligence on the part of the Nigerians.

The coach Fatai Amoo-led Golden Eaglets were close to a stunning comeback from three goals down before losing 2-3 to their Ivorian counterparts on Monday night. The sleeky Baby Elephants, who had won all their previous three games in the tournament (1-0 over Nigeria; 3-1 over Ghana and 1-0 over Niger Republic), raced to three goals lead before the 70th minute, leaving the five-time world champions, Nigeria, deflated at the Stade Kegue in Lome. But the Eaglets pulled themselves together and scored two quick goals late in the game to end the tie 2-3.

Though, the Golden Eaglets and Baby Elephants have picked the tickets to the 2021 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations billed for March 13-31 in Morocco, former Green Eagles winger, Adegoke Adelabu is disappointed that Nigeria could fall a second time to Cote d’Ivoire in the same competition.

“For the Golden Eaglets to lose a second time to Cote d’Ivoire in the same competition shows so much weakness on the part of our national team,” he told The Guardian yesterday. “Our football teams have become highly predictable because of lack of sports intelligence to use what we have to get what we want.”


Adelabu, a sports scientist and former manager of Eko United FC stated that players and officials of the Baby Elephants were able to study the Golden Eaglets and capitalised on their weak point. “What the opponent did was to prevent our boys from playing. They have studied us very well, and that was how they were able to score three goals, and the Golden Eaglets were busy looking for ball. Our boys only became dangerous in the dying minutes when our opponents thought it was over. That is the fighting spirit of a typical Nigerian, but football requires a lot of things to win on the pitch.”

Speaking further, Adelabu, who played club football with then IICC Shooting Stars of Ibadan said: “One of the secrets of our football administration is that, anytime we need to qualify through the result of another team, that team will get the result that will favour us. We have perfected the back door strategy. That is why things may not change soon.”

Earlier on Monday, the Baby Etalons of Burkina Faso, who lost 0-1 to Nigeria in the semifinals, grabbed the tournament’s bronze medals after an 11-10 penalty shootout win over Niger Republic following 1-1 draw in the third place match. The Golden Eaglets’ contingent is expected back in Nigeria on Tuesday.


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Golden EagletsWAFU U-17
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