The Nigeria Football Federation has praised the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR for his personal motivation for the U-20 National Team, Flying Eagles at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia.
NFF President, Alhaji Aminu Maigari however regretted that the team failed to reach the semi finals, following Sunday’s 2-3 defeat by France in their quarter-final clash in Cali.
The European champions went ahead early in the second half before the Flying Eagles equalized with the last touch of the game, through substitute Bright Ejike. France swept well ahead with two goals inside two minutes in the first half of extra time, and Nigeria was only able to reduce the deficit by one in the second period of extra time.
“We appreciate the personal interest, efforts and commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan to the team’s campaign. On the part of the Nigeria Football Federation, we did everything we could to prepare the boys adequately for the championship, and enhanced the win-bonus from stage to stage. But the boys failed to summon that extra energy and invention needed to overcome the champions of Europe.
“It is sad that we had to leave the tournament at the quarter final stage. But there is nothing we could do about it. The team did not suffer inadequate preparation; in fact, it got better preparation than many U-20 National Teams before it. We also paid higher bonus to the team that ever before.
“Certainly, there are several lessons that we have learnt here as well, and they would be very useful as we go ahead, even in the way we handle the other National Teams.
“Considering all that we were able to do for the team within our resources, and Mr. President’s own personal motivation and promises to the players and officials when he spoke to them before the match against England, we really expected the team to do better,” Maigari said in Cali before the team flew out of Colombia on Monday afternoon.
The Flying Eagles scored 15 goals in their five matches at the tournament, conceeding five. But failure to rise to the occasion inside the Estadio Olimpico Pascual Guerrero on Sunday, with over 30,000 of the 33,000 full house rooting for them, saw the Nigeria team exit the championship.