Olympic gold medalist, Emmanuel Babayaro has called on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to launch an investigation into the exit of the Flying Eagles in the ongoing FIFA U20 World Cup in Poland.
Despite starting the tournament impressively with a 4-0 demolition of Qatar, the 2005 runners-up failed to build on the fine start, losing 2-0 to United States before playing to a 1-1 stalemate with Ukraine to qualify for the knockout stage as one of the best third-placed teams.
The Paul Aigbogun’s men were then eliminated by Senegal in the Round of 16 of the tournament, losing 2-1 in Lodz on Monday.
Babayaro has given a stern assessment of the Flying Eagles in the tournament.
“From the beginning, their performance has been poor. Our exit was expected, it was long-coming,” Babayaro said.
“Look at how we qualified in the first instance, apart from the very first game we won and we won against a very poor side, we never beat any other team.
“The technical team are not up to speed technically. It baffled me that we will be going for a World Cup without our best legs, it is a shame.
“If we play well with the youngsters and we are eliminated in the group stage it’s cool, it is developmental. We need to go for the right lads for our own future.
“The NFF should do the needful. Do your proper investigation into what happened with the Flying Eagles. How can we be taking mediocre players to the competition like the World Cup and then dropping the best players?
“I think the team should be investigated and if the coaches are found wanting they should be sanctioned to serve as a lesson to others.
“They are killing our future, the purpose of the tournament is to create room for the young kids who will graduate to U23 and then to the Super Eagles.
“Our coaches need orientation, they should select the right ages. The NFF should not put the coaches under pressure, pay them well when due, that way if you find them trying to involve in any illicit behaviour as regards team selection then it is easy to deal with them because you have given them everything to work.
“What stops us from taking the right players to the tournament? The coaches need to be orientated that they should not use their selfish interest to bring the nation down.”
Mali will hope to join Senegal in the quarter-final of the tournament when they play Argentina in the Round of 16 on Tuesday.