FREEPRESS – What appears another self-inflicted disaster for Nigerian football occurred yesterday in far away South Korea, as the nation’s U-17 male team suffered their worst defeat in history, losing 8-1 to England at the Suwon Continental Cup tournament.
Again, the team is being tutored by Coach Manu Garba, who recently failed to qualify the Golden Eaglets for the 2017 CAF U-17 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Golden Eaglets will not be defending their World title next year, as coach Garba-led team bowed to the Baby Menas of Niger Republic 3-1 in the U-17 African qualifier in August.
After that shock exit, many Nigerians were expecting the Amaju Pinnick-led NFF to do away with coach Manu Garba, but that did not happen.
It was learnt that after collecting appearance fees money from organisers of the Suwon International tournament, the NFF called on Coach Garba, who hurriedly assembled players from various grassroots clubs and academies in the country for the tourney in South Korea.
Without any form of preparation, Garba, nine other officials of the NFF and 19 players embarked on the journey to South Korea.
In their first match yesterday, the Nigerians were no match for their English counterparts, who ran riot from the start till end of the game. Though it is an invitational tournament, it is on record that England has defeated Nigeria 8-1 in a football tournament.
In the English team was Dominic Solanke, who led several other players with Nigerian roots to trounce a helpless Nigeria U-19 team 8-1. Some Nigerians in the England squad include Ademola Lookman, Ovie Ejaria, Fikayo Tomori and Josh Onomah.
The English team is using the Suwon International tournament to prepare for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea in the summer. Their Nigerian counterparts, Flying Eagles, will not be in the World Cup, as the coach Emmanuel Amuneke led team were bundled out of the 2017 African U-20 Championship by 10-Man Sudan in Lagos earlier this year. No Nigerian male team, including the Super Eagles will feature in any continental assignment next year.
In yesterday’s game, England team captain Taylor Moore got things started in the 19th minute before Adam Armstrong doubled the lead just a minute later.
Chelsea striker Dominic Solanke made it 3-0 in the 25th minute before Armstrong got his second of the afternoon two minutes later to complete a whirlwind eight-minute spell to put Paul Williams’ side four clear at the break.
The flow of goals didn’t slow down after the break though, as Callum Connolly and Patrick Roberts added to the tally in the first five minutes of the second half.
Nigeria pulled a goal back, before Armstong, currently on loan at Barnsley from Newcastle United, completed his hat-trick in the 70th minute.