Super Eagles ridiculed Nigeria against Mexico, says Izilien, Babatunde Joseph
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) says its plan to get the Super Eagles B exposed to high-grade international games to improve their level of confidence and aptitude remains in place, despite the 4-0 defeat by Mexico’s ‘A’ Team in Los Angeles on Saturday. But former Super Falcons and Golden Eaglets coach, Godwin Izilien, has described as scandalous the 4-0 defeat to Mexico.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Izilien said the decision by the NFF to expose the local players was good, but the execution was poor. “The players were hurriedly assembled within one week to face Mexico and we ended up ridiculing ourselves before the international community. I have always advised the NFF severally on the need to look inward by sending some of the coaches to the local government to scout for players. It worked for us in the old Bendel. You don’t just wake up and assemble local players to face a great football-playing nation like Mexico. It was a waste of money. I am sure we have learnt some bitter lessons from this mistake,” Izilien stated.
Also speaking on the game, former Golden Eaglet, Babatunde Joseph, said he has not been able to face his friends since the defeat.
Joseph, a member of the team that won the maiden FIFA U-16 Kodak World Cup in China now based in the United States, told The Guardian yesterday that his friends have not stopped asking him what has gone wrong with Nigerian football.
“I don’t know if those guys really prepared for that duel because that was what it looked like watching the game on television. They behaved as if they were just happy and pleased with being in the U.S. If not, they would have provided a strong opposition to the Mexicans. I cannot explain what happened to those guys in that match.
“My phone has just been popping up with calls and text messages from friends asking me what happened that Nigeria lost scandalously like that to Mexico.
“None of my friends in the U.S. believe that the team was not the real Super Eagles. No, they won’t believe that stuff once it is your country that played the game. And this is already recorded in the history books that Mexico beat Nigeria 4-0 in an international friendly in the U.S.,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, the squad could make a return to the U.S. in a few months as the cooperation agreement between the NFF and the Government of State of Maryland starts to take shape. Pinnick (on behalf of the NFF) and Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford (on behalf of the Government of State of Maryland) last week signed a cooperation agreement based on a shared vision and shared values and with the pillar of mutual understanding for rapid development.