By John Egbokhan
Axed Golden EagletsÂ Coach, Henry Nwosu, has predicted that doom awaits the nationâ€™s team at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup, holding across eight Nigerian cities from October through November.
Nwosu, a 1980 African Nations Cup hero, was controversially booted out as coach of the cadet team, despite his clean record when he was in charge and his replacement, John Obuh, is yet to find the right blend as he tinkers the squad for a successful defence of the title that they won two years ago in Seoul, South Korea.
And Obuh has not been helped with last weekâ€™s disturbing development that about 16 of his players failed the age identity test, MRI, conducted byÂ FIFA, a situation that has left the team on a cliff-hanger, as the coach attempts to raise another team for the tournament, which is 71 days away from now.
It was against this background that Nwosu, yesterday in Lagos, raised serious fears about Nigeriaâ€™s ability to prosecute a successful defence, insisting that the path to victory, was aborted, the day that he was sacrificed on the altar of expediency.
While noting that it was not impossible for the Eaglets to spring a surprise, Nwosu argued that things could have been a lot different had his plan of making use of genuine Under-17 players from the academies had been allowed to be by the Nigeria Football Federation, who appeared to have been out for quick-fix solutions, which seem to be the wrong approach to a developmental programme that the tournament was conceived to achieve.
â€œIt is not impossible for Eaglets to still pull in out but it would take a lot of hard work and abundant grace because we have limited time to train and recruit some players from academies but even with that, it will still be difficult to defend our crown. I would not laugh at anybody because it is our team, if they fail, we all have failed but it is unfortunate that what I was trying to do was destroyed by some people and we are seeing the reward already and it is going to get worseâ€, he added.