In the wake of defeat something positive might emerge from Nigerian football.After failing to qualify for the African Under 17 Championship, Eaglets coach, Monday Odigie has revealed why his team lost to Congo and pleaded with the football federation to allow him keep his job.
Odigie said that the boys he paraded were truly under the age limit and that he never tried to cheat by fielding overaged players, a thing that had characterised Nigerian football in the past.
Nigeria failed to pick a qualification ticket for the African under-17 Championships, next year in Rwanda.
Odigie was an assistant coach to John Obuh, when Nigeria won silver at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup last year in Abuja. He had also assisted Samson Siasia in the Under 20 and Olympic teams. He claimed that Nigeria failed to qualify because he paraded a team made up of soccer rookies.
“For the first time we built a team with players who do not play in any league club.
“They were all secondary school pupils who have just learnt the basics of football.
“I apologise for the disappointment but if given another opportunity, I will give a better result.”
Emmanuel Ikpeme, Head of the NFF’s Technical Department agreed with Odigie, and said he would keep his job.
“This is truly a very young team and they played well, despite their inexperience.
“The NFF had insisted that the team must be made of truly U_17 players so we cannot blame the coach (Odigie) for their performance. We have to build on their achievement.“We don’t intend to sack the coaching crew.”
Nigeria was sent packing by Congo DR out of the African Championship, with a 3-1 aggregate score.