A feature of Nigeria’s game that has lay dead for sometime now has been resurrected by the Golden Eaglets team : never say die attitude.
Not once but in 2 games have they come from behind to snatch victory right from the very jaws of defeat – really impressive.
Faced with oppositions which everyone could see were superior to them, Garba’s boy were simply determined to overcome; overcome Hungary on opening day, overcome Ecuador yesterday. And (again) both teams looked both tactically and technically superior to the Golden Eaglets on the nights in question.
If Manu's boys continue like this, they will be destined for greatness. Greatness does not necessarily mean they must win this tournament – no.
Greatness means they should be able to go as far as their abilities allow in this tournament and as far as hard work, focus and concentration allow them individually after this tournament is long over.
It might not be evident but there are future national team materials in the squad. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it is still early days.
The squad itself is riddled with shortcomings. The midfield appears tensed and too quick to release the ball (a bit of calmness will serve them well).
Yes, individual brilliance has produced individual moments of magic if Under-17 football but these players’ decision to go alone were often ill-timed, ill-advised, with poor outcomes.
Overzealous tackles, mad rush for the ball, too much eagerness for a peice of the action, predictable attempts at interceptions by defenders are all factors that distort the shape of this Golden Eaglets team thereby rubbing it of balance and adversely impact its cohesion.
Better organised teams lie in wait, ready to exploit these weaknesses if Manu Garba does not act first!
These boys are good. Attack attack attack is good. But, against technically and tactically fastidious opponents, they will need much more than that.