Coach Fatai Amoo had a huge slice of luck to even get this far in tournament which invariably earned Nigeria a ticket to the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations later in the year.
Losing twice to Ivory Coast within a short space of time means his Francophone counterpart is undoubtedly far better than him (to borrow a popular phrase that has been making the rounds).
For me, I am just happy and a tad relieved that there is underage continental football to look forward to later in the year.
The wound of not qualifying for the Under-20 Afcon left me with visible scars and I was fasting and praying not to go through it all over with the Under-17s.
From about 2013 to date, our Under-17 teams have continued to look younger. This has to augur well for the future of Nigerian football and also enhances our reputation of putting forward genuine youngsters for these competitions.
Nigeria fans who followed the recently concluded under 17 wafu cup of nations will posit to an underwhelming standard of play displayed by the Eaglets and a dearth of modern football technical input from Amoo and his management crew.
Manu Garba and Emmanuel Amuneke had provided avant-garde technical inputs and approach in the execution of Nigeria’s under 17 football assignments from West Africa all the way to the global stage.
This ‘Gold’ standard that incidentally won back to back gold medals at this level has had the effect of elevating the expectations of fans to heights future under 17 coaches have to either match or exceed.
The brand of football has to be pristine, the players have to be precocious and the outcomes have to be positive.
Nothing wrong with those 3 elements, after all, ‘who no like beta thing?’
But Amoo’s Eaglets aren’t leaving this tournament empty handed: they have obtained what the came for which is Afcon qualification.
His team was lucky, Ladan Bosso, less so.
It is now left for the NFF to plan ahead of the Afcon so that the Eaglets can have a more memorable tournament. If they have to overhauled the team’s management set up or even replace Fatai Amoo with a more flamboyant and dynamic manager, so be it but they should not leave it too late.
Fatai Amoo, on his part might point to limited time for preparation as the reason for not serving the insatiable fans with the gaiety of glamorous football that they have more recently become accustomed.
But there can now be no excuse for serving the same insipid brand of football in the Afcon proper.