By Sab Osuji:
Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Ike Shorunmu, has posited that the U-23 Eagles’ poor showing at the Suwon Invitational Tournament in South Korea is not a true reflection of the quality of the team, urging Nigerians not to risk judging the team’s potential based on their showing at the Korean tournament, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The Nigeria U-23 team started the four-nation tournament on a losing note following a 1-0 defeat to hosts South Korea.
However, Samson Siasia’s charges conceded their worst defeat in history on Friday when Denmark U-21 side routed then 6-2, before they salvaged some pride with a 3-1 win over Honduras on Monday.
But Shorunmu, who is a former Super Eagles assistant coach, reckons that the team’s performance in Korea may be the catalyst that could spur them to a better outing in Brazil during the Olympic Games slated for Rio de Janeiro in August.
“I did not watch the game U-23 Eagles lost to Denmark which ended 6-2 because I was involved in an exhibition match in Bauchi which involved my former national team-mates like Nwankwo Kanu, Mutiu Adepoju and others,” Shorunmu told Completesportsnigeria.com.
“As a Nigerian, I would have expected them to win but sincerely speaking friendly matches are not ideal to test the true form or quality of any team.
“It is better they don’t win in friendly games and go ahead to excel in major championships like the Olympic Games.
“Friendly matches or tournaments like the Suwon Tournament in Korea are meant for the coach to assess his players based on what he wants and identifying areas of deficiency in the team, with a view to correcting them before the championship proper.
“So, of what benefit will it be to you if you keep winning friendly games and get the impression that all is well and then lose miserably in major championships?
“For me, I prefer the team losing in such friendly matches so they can correct their mistakes and bounce back strongly in the Olympic Games.
“I know coach Samson Siasia; he’s experienced and I believe this team can do well in the Olympic Games proper.”