By John Egbokhan, Abuja
Golden Eaglets coach, John Obuh has staved off criticisms surrounding his sideâ€™s unconvincing display so far at the Abuja centre of the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
After labouring to a 3-3 draw against Germany on Saturday, the reigning world champions, managed to grind out a slim 1-0 win over Honduras on Tuesday night, to get their campaign back on track at the tournament.
Despite the narrow win, the performance of the cadet side was not that superb, as many of the players struggled to command their positions, effectively, leaving many fans to fret over what the future holds for the nation at the competition, it intends to win on home soil.
The fact that Nigeria won the last edition in Seoul, South Korea has added additional pressure on the shoulders of the team but coach Obuh, who is having his first stint as a national coach, has risen to defend his playersâ€™ perceived average display in the tourney.
Speaking with Sports Vanguard at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Obuh said that his players are gradually coming into their own as they bid to stage a successful defence of the crown.
â€œI believe that the players are starting to get into the groove of the competition. They had many issues that weighed down on them, in the weeks leading to this tournament. They are youngsters and it is expected that they would not have enough power to deal with problems pertaining to their eligibility to play in this tournament.
â€œAlso, they were also burdened by the performances of the Super Eagles and Flying Eagles and felt that the nation was expecting them to deliver. In such a case, they were anxious to do just that but like in the match against the Germans, they were caught napping.
â€œAll the same, this is a team for the future and I trust them to improve with each game that they get to play and I believe that they can do the nation proud. But it is going to be one match at a time. They would get there but they are still adapting.
â€œOne thing that you can expect from these players is that they do not want to let the nation down. They are determined to do Nigerians proud and want fans to believe in them when they step on the pitch. We need the prayers and support of our passionate fans and we promise to make them happyâ€, added the former Kwara United gaffer.