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‘Nigerians should be patient with Flying Eagles’

03 June 2015, 15:04

Lagos - 2012 National Sports Festival winning coach, Tunde Lawson has called for patience in the wake of Flying Eagles' 4-2 loss to their Brazilian counterparts on Monday morning.

A young, outmatched Nigerian side found itself on the losing side in the FIFA U20 World Cup Group E encounter against the South Americans at the Stadium Taranaki.

It was a stroll in the park for the Brazilians, who were led by Judivan’s brace.

Though the loss resulted from the carelessness of Taiwo Awoniyi and unforgivable errors made by goalkeeper Joshua Enaholo.

News24 caught up with Coach Lawson who was passionate when asked what his message might be to supporters in the wake of the loss to the Brazilians.

Also read: Pressure mounts on Manu Garba to axe Enaholo and co

''We have to be patient,'' the Lagos-based coach told News24. “We have no godly right to think that we are just going to stroll past opponents. For some reason in Nigeria, we seem to think we’re at the highest level after winning the 2015 African Youth Championship in Senegal. We’re not. Let’s call a spade a spade. We’re not at that level. There is so much work to be done. The loss was probably the first step towards that work being done in many ways.

''The people who have slaughtered the boys with their reports, comments and all that sort of stuff, have to really tune in to what’s going on in world football. And I’m not fluffing over things. There’s nobody more disappointed than the head coach of the side Manu Garba. Let me tell you, the boys will bounce back when the chips are down. They need our support at this trying time.''

Coach Lawson then advised the technical crew to revert to a more flexible formation in subsequent group matches against North Korea and Hungary.

''At the AYC we utilized a 4-3-3 or a 4-5-1 pattern, which allowed our wing-backs more movements with the ball. It was a different case against Brazil as we elected to play with more bodies upfront. For me the system back fired and that explains why Mustapha Abdullahi had a very poor game,'' the coach stated.

''The technical crews need fast and mobile players in the match against North Korea, with either Moses Simon or Godwin Saviour coming in. The intelligence of Kingsley Sokari will also be relevant, while not forgetting the ball winning skills of Idowu Akinjide and Chidiebere Nwakali.''

''I want the coaches to sacrifice either Isaac Success or Taiwo Awoniyi to allow us to possess the ball. I have followed the team for a very long, but we couldn't keep the ball against Brazil and calls for concern.

With various sections of the media calling for the immediate axing of goalkeeper Enaholo, who was at fault for some of the goals, Lawson added: ''Mistakes are part of the game, benching A'Plate (Enaholo) isn't the solution, but rather he needs our undiluted support at this trying time. I believe the boy will bounce back.''

The match between Nigeria U20 and North Korea U20 will get underway by 5am Nigerian Time on Thursday.

-Soccer Laduma

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- News24


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