Benedict Akwuegbu, a former Super Eagles striker has raised concern over the apparent porous defence of the Golden Eaglets currently campaigning for a possible sixth FIFA U-17 World Cup title in Brazil, Completesports.com reports.
Akwuegbu expressed dissatisfaction with the manner the team conceded four goals in two Group B matches so far played even though they won both games to qualify for the group stage of the tournament even with a game to spare.
The Eaglets came from a 2-1 deficit to peg Hungary 4-2 in their opening match last Saturday at the Estadio Olimpico, Goiania. They again recorded a 3-2 comeback against Ecuador at the same venue in a five-goal thriller to sit top of Group B standings.
But as the five-time World champions get set to face Australia tonight (Friday) in a dead rubber Group B game, Akwuegbu, who featured in Nigeria`s silver medal winning Golden Eaglets at Scotland `89 FIFA U-17 World Cup finals, said it is not proper for the Eaglets to be conceding goals the way and manner they have done so far.
In the opinion of the former Stum Graz of Austria forward, coach Manu Garba needs to plug all the loopholes in his team`s back line so they don’t get embarrassed in the tougher knock out stage of the championship.
“I believe the Eaglets are good and have what it takes to go far in the tournament,” Akwuegbu told completesports.com from his base in London on Thursday night.
“I once represented Nigeria at that level in the 1989 edition in Scotland and I know that much as we have a good team, as always, but I feel it is very important for the coach to knock his team into a strong unit where the defence will not be conceding cheap goals in tournament.
“A strong defence gives the entire team confidence and once you keep conceding goals, the team will lose confidence and the end result is defeat.
“So, it is good that they have qualified for the next round irrespective of their ‘porous’ defence, but it is important they fix their defence because at this (knock out) stage, it could be difficult to come back once you go behind and that could rock the boat of their title ambition and cause Nigerians nightmare,” Akwuegbu warned.
The Nigeria – Australia clash tonight will kick off at 9pm Nigerian time at the Estadio Bezerrao in Brasilia. Simultaneously, Hungary versus Ecuador will take place at the Estadio Olimpico, Goiania.
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