Acting NFF president Seyi Akinwunmi has made it clear that the Federation is prioritising a good developmental program for the current U-17 national team than winning the forthcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.
Akinwunmi made this disclosure during his visit to the team camp on Tuesday and maintained that the team’s technical crew led by Manu Garba has been saddled with the responsibility of discovering raw football talents in Nigeria and not winning the tournament in Brazil.
“The technical crew has nothing to prove to anybody. Fifa U17 World Cup is a developmental programme and Nigeria has shown that she has the ability to win the tournament at the world stage,” he said.
“We have won it five times previously. But what we want is a little extra and probably even more important is the development of the players.”
“It is to build a system whereby, getting into the national U17 team, you have to go through a pathway, you don’t go through a short cut.”
The Lagos State FA boss added that , the Federation will give every young players equal chance of representing the country, irrespective of their status.
“There are so many players in the country that don’t have the means to be in Abuja, yet they are very good, but they can play in their states and in their zones and if they are discovered to be very good, then they can come to Abuja.
“The fact that some players have the means to enter a bus or plane to come to Abuja and do screening should not give them an advantage.”
“I’ve explained this position to the technical crew and we are aligned because it is a policy of the board, that is the way we want to go as a Federation.”
“We want the system of youth development to grow. We don’t want people to be sending players to the national team from all nooks and crannies. We want a system where the best will emerge at the top.” Akinwunmi concluded.
The FIFA U-17 world cup will kick start in October and Nigeria begin their quest for sixth title against Hungary on October 16 at Goiania’s Estadio Olimpico.
The Golden Eaglets are drawn in Group B alongside Hungary, Ecuador, Hungary, and Australia .