Following Nigeria’s U23 5-0 win against Sudan U23 in the second leg of the 2019 Africa U23 Cup of Nations qualifiers, Ex-International, Mobi Oparaku has hailed the performance of the team after they overturned the 1st leg defeat.
The former Enyimba player who was part of the first dream team that participated at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, in a chat with brila.net has revealed that he never entertained any fear over the qualification chances of the Olympic Eagles to the U23 Africa Cup of Nations.
“I wasn’t worried about the 2nd leg because I knew we had U23 players at home and abroad that can play the game plus the coaching crew of the U23 players do not play with sentiments, they follow due process…”
On the introduction of fresh legs in the second leg, he said ” the coaches know what they want they reshuffled the team after the 1st leg loss and they know best why they made their choice of players for the second leg.
The Heartland technical crew member also likened the comeback of the Olympic Eagles to that of Dream team I in their 1996 qualifiers game against Kenya, taking a trip down memory lane he said “The idea of bringing in foreign based players to compliment the home-based is not a new thing, most of us were in Europe back then in 1996 like in the second leg games against Libya and Sudan in the 2019 qualifiers, back then we were so determined to win.
However, Oparaku stated that this not mean the home-based players are not good enough to deliver the ticket rather has blamed football management in Nigeria and the poor structure of the league , faulting the method used in scouting and grooming of players “I believe in bringing in raw talents, We’ve to pick players without sentiment, When you’re grooming players we have to groom real talents based on what the game wants.”