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
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 For
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