Sports minister says upgraded developmental programmes helped U17 Eaglets win WAFU trophy

Pius Ayinor

Nigeria’s Sports and Youth Development Minister, Sunday Dare has said that “competence in coaches selection” helped the U17 Golden Eaglets win the WAFU B trophy.

He then praised the leadership of Nigeria Football Federation for “making merit and competence its watchwords in selection of coaches for the age-grade National Teams, as agreed with the Ministry.”

Dare said the proper implementation has started to yield results following Nigeria’s performances at U20 and U17 levels of recent.

Dare said, “I want to give credit to the NFF for implementing the cardinal principles that we agreed at meetings on youth football development. Now, we can see that the emphasis on merit and competence has started to bear fruits. The U17 and U20 girls have qualified for their FIFA World Cup competitions with aplomb and the U17 and U20 boys have won regional tournaments in emphatic manner, with promises of what we can look forward to at their African championships next year.

 “Our hard focus on grassroots development in all sports will continue. I congratulate the players and their coaches of the Golden Eaglets for winning so convincingly in Ghana and I want to charge you to remain focused for the continental championship in order to get the ticket to the World Cup. For you players, you must stay humble, hardworking and obedient to your coaches.”

Dare spoke in Abuja on Tuesday while hosting the players and officials to a reception. Nigeria won the WAFU B U17 Championship in Cape Coast, Ghana last Friday.

NFF General Secretary, Dr Mohammed Sanusi introduced each player and team official for special handshake with the Honourable Minister, stating that Head Coach Nduka Ugbade was the captain of the first Nigeria team to win the FIFA Cadet World Cup, and was also assistant coach to Manu Garba when Nigeria triumphed in the United Arab Emirates in 2013.