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Flying Eagles coach explains Iheanacho bench role at U20 W/Cup

16 June 2015, 18:32

Lagos - Following the criticism that trailed his team selections after Nigeria’s ouster from the FIFA U20 World Cup, Nigeria U20 coach Manu Garba has said he only selected the players he thought would give him the required results.

Speaking exclusively to News24, the 49-year old explained why he shunned Kelechi Iheanacho and Isaac Success after they first game, saying he selected his team based on what he saw in trainings.

“I selected the players based on what they did in training,” he said, “I selected all the players on merit.

“When Success (Isaac) and Kelechi (Iheanacho) joined the team, the form they showed and the kind of goals they scored meant they couldn’t be ignored for that first game against Brazil.

Also read: ‘Flying Eagles lost to a tough and tactical German team’

“But Kelechi (Iheanacho) wasn’t doing enough defensively and maybe it had to do with the injury he suffered before he joined us.

“We decided to adopt the pattern we used at the Africa Youth Championship in our second game against North Korea because we needed to attack and defend as a team, which we didn’t do against Brazil.”

Asked why he never recalled Iheanacho to starting eleven and why he made certain changes to the team, Manu said it was his team and he knew the players better, but blamed the weather for the loss to Germany.

“Everybody in Nigeria is a coach but it was my team and I knew the players better. We had to make sure we qualified from the group and we used the players we thought would give us that.

“But in that game against Germany, the weather was 3 degrees and the players couldn’t cope,” he said.

-Soccer Laduma

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