You still have much work to do before World Cup, Lawal tells Eaglets’ coaches
Former Nigerian International, Garba Lawal has hailed the just concluded Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Tanzania, describing the championship as a fantastic one. But he is disappointed with the quality of the Nigerian team to the competition even though they qualified for the World Cup scheduled for Brazil later this year.
Lawal acknowledged that the competition only serves as a youth development tournament aimed at identifying future stars of the game.
Nigeria finished fourth at the tournament won by Cameroon, who defeated Guinea 5-3 on penalties in the final. All the four semifinalists qualified to represent Africa at the World Cup billed for between October 5 and 27.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Lawal advised handlers of the Nigerian team to work more on the team, saying if need be they should inject new players into the team to make it more purposeful before the World Cup.
“Our boys did their best even though they did not win the AFCON. The coach should be able to say one or two things on what went wrong; he should know them better. The boys created chances but did not make good use of them.
“You know all what Nigerians want is result but thank God the team qualified for the World Cup. That means the boys will have another chance to prove themselves with the inclusion of some fresh legs to solidify the team. To do well at the FIFA World Cup means more work for the players and the handlers,” he said.
Lawal, who is the coach of Real Stars of Kaduna, one of Nigeria National League sides, stated that the same scenario played itself out at the 2013 and 2015 AFCON when Nigeria failed to win the AFCON but went ahead to win the world titles.
“I remember that the Eaglets never won the AFCON in 2013 and 2015 but won the U-17 World Cups in 2013 at the United Arab Emirates and the Chile 2015. So, the results in Tanzania simply means a wake up call for the handlers on the need to work on the team before the tournament begins in Brazil later in the years,” he stated.
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