Completesportsnigeria.com's JOHNNY EDWARD holds an inquest into the shocking 'death' of Nigeria's 2017 CAF U-20 AFCON and 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup ambitions. Below are five factors that worked against the Nigeria U-20s and ensured that their Sudanese counterparts won their two legged final qualifiers with higher away goals following a 5-5 aggregate scoresheet.
Despite having so many travails to keep up with, the Flying Eagles were abjectly poor against the ten man Sudanese side that showed more desire to qualify for the 2017 AYC in Zambia despite losing the first leg in Omdurman. The visitors won all 50-50 challenges during the encounter and were more clinical in goal than their hosts who paraded Arsenal and Wolfsburg targets Kelechi Nwakali and Victor Osimhen. Obviously complacent, Flying Eagles played to the gallery most times during the encounter.
2. Lack of motivation:
Having been owed four months match bonuses and allowances, The Flying Eagles team got a N5million naira boost on the eve of the second leg clash in Lagos, which didn’t help matters. The team showed in their play that the needed team spirit and bond to overcome energetic and tactful Sudanese side were lacking.
3. Victor Osimhen
He had been a talking-point in the team since he equaled the goal scoring record at the 2015 FIFA World Cup in Chile and it's appropriate to end it talking about the enigmatic Victor Osimhen. Although he scored in the defeat to Sudan, he will surely be very disappointed with his performance. He was earmarked as the Flying Eagles star player, but he missed two crucial chances against Sudan on Saturday with the score at 2-1. OSimhen looked far from his very best. Nigeria’s hopes were pinned on him to be the star player and one of the leaders of the team, unfortunately, his performance like those of the other Flying Eagles players, was poor against Sudan.
4. Weak Wing-backs
Tobechukwu Ibe and Udochukwu Anumudu played dismally in the two legged encounters against Sudan. Ibe known for his brilliant delivery, did not put in any good corners or crosses at Teslim Balogun Stadium Lagos. Anumudu's defending in the games was poor and he looked completely out of his depth.
5. Emmanuel Amuneke
Emmanuel Amuneke, overall, seems to have done a good job for Nigeria at the age grade level, but there is a question over his ability to motivate the players during trying moments. He looked unsettled by the lethargic display of his team, but it was obvious that his lads had no response to the onslaught the young Sudanese had on offer against his boys.