24 July 2016
The U-17 national team Assistant Coach, Nduka Ugbade, has urged Nigerians to put behind them the disappointment of not qualifying for the 2017 U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Zambia and forge ahead.
Ugbade said in Lagos on Sunday that the Flying Eagles should not dwell on its failure to qualify but to refocus and get back to their winning ways.
A member of the victorious 1985 Golden Eaglets, Ugbade said though the team’s exit was painful, he would urge the team’s handlers to forge ahead by working harder.
The Nigerian U-20 team will be absent at the 20th edition of the biennial tournament in Zambia after they suffered a shocking 3-4 loss to Sudan on Saturday in Lagos.
Tthe national U-20 team had defeated the Sudanese 2-1 in Khartoum but was ousted on 5-5 aggregate scores which left Sudan to move ahead on away goals.
“It’s so unfortunate; I can imagine how these boys feel having gone that far but the truth is that, setbacks like this helps purposeful teams to start planning and preparing for the future.
“It’s a game; at times you win and at times you lose; it’s just that it’s been long we suffered such a loss with our junior team,’’ the former defender said.
“Having won the first leg away from home a fortnight ago, many had expected the Flying Eagles to seal their place in Zambia in an emphatic style in Lagos.
“However, that was not the case as the more determined Sudanese carried the day.’’
Sharing same view, Bright Omokaro, a former Super Eagles defender, said the failure of the Flying Eagles to secure the qualifying ticket showed that there was need for the team to look inward.
“Things like this happen even to the best teams in the world, they should put it behind them, and it shows that we didn’t do certain things right, so we should get back to work.
“Not qualifying should encourage us, we have been through such situations and we came back stronger, so, fans should bear with them and try to support them in future endeavours,’’ he said.