By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Former Nigeria international Sani Kaita has given a thumbs up to the squad selected by Flying Eagles coach Manu Garba for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup which kicks off on May 30 in New Zealand.
The Nigeria Football Federation on Friday released the squad list.
Kaita, speaking exclusively to completesportsnigeria.com, expresses optimism that Nigeria can win the World Cup for the first time in its history after coming agonisingly close to the title, twice finishing as runners-up (in 1989 and 2005).
Kaita who later graduated to the senior national team set-up was a member of the Flying Eagles side to the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup in the Netherlands. Nigeria lost 2-1 to Argentina in the final.
“Nigeria has not won the U20 World Cup though we have finished as silver medallists twice,” Kaita told completesportsnigeria.com. “It was an honour to be part of that team.
“The present team handled by Manu Garba has so much promise. We have seen the values of the team and I’m hopeful if they play to the coaches’ instructions, remain fit during the World Cup and get fair officiating. They can lift the trophy in June.”
Speaking on the chances of Nigeria defeating Brazil in both sides’ Group E opener on June 1, Kaita says it is a distinct possibility.
“Of course the present Flying Eagles can break the jinx this year. We came close to doing that in 2015 but lost our chances,” he added.
“The quality of this team is encouraging. I don’t know if they are the best Flying Eagles team since 1983 as you asked but the fact that they were graduates from the U-17 World Cup winning team means they have consistency and understanding going for them.”
Nigeria have suffered three defeats and pulled one draw in their four meetings against Brazil at the FIFA U20 World Cup.