Minister of youth and sports, Mr. Sunday Dare has revealed his intention to map out strategies to put paid to the setback that has bedeviled Nigerian football this year following the elimination of the Olympic Eagles from the ongoing U23 African Cup of Nations championship in Egypt.
Imama Amapakabo’s boys VII missed out on a chance to compete in the next year’s Olympic Games after they played out a 0-0 draw against South Africa in their final Africa U23 Cup of Nations (Afcon) group game at Al-Salam Stadium in Egypt on Friday night.
With Cote d’Ivoire beating Zambia by a lone goal, all the Dream team VII needed was an outright win to ensure qualification to the next round of CAF U23 Nations Cup and also solidify their chances of picking an Olympic ticket.
However, what this means is that Nigeria will not have any representative at Tokyo 2020 Olympics football tournament as the Super Falcons also lost out to Ivory Coast in the qualifiers some weeks back.
In the same vein, the CHAN Eagles failed to qualify for the African Nations Championship billed for Cameroon next year after losing 4-3 on aggregate to Togo last month.
Minister Dare who was disappointed with the latest setback, took to his verified Twitter handle to indicate the need to go back to the drawing board in order to stop the rot in Nigeria football.
“Nigeria’s game against S.A. (South Africa) which ended in a draw concentrates the mind. Time to take a look back and find out where the rain began to beat us. Like I said before, our football needs a return to the basics of grassroots football, pristine sports admin, sound technical coaching…,”
“Government will take appropriate steps and in a timely fashion to improve our football fortunes. Current outcomes offer the opportunity to review, restrategize and develop a long term plan for football development. We will dust up great ideas already abandoned and implement.
“Nigerian football across the spectrum will benefit from this new outlook which will involve critical stakeholders. Government, mindful that Nigeria is a football nation will be bold in embracing best practices in modern football.”
Recall that Nigeria’s Flying Eagles were knocked out by Senegal in the U20 World Cup back in June while the Golden Eaglets were recently humbled by the Netherlands in the second round of the U17 World Cup.