The 1st Vice President of Nigeria Football Federation, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi on Wednesday while apologising to Nigerians for the recent unfulfilled dreams of our U-20 National Team and the Super Falcons disclosed that the Federation is making moves to correct technical deficiencies in all the National Teams including those noticed in the teams that were recently engaged in the major international championships.
Akinwunmi spoke against the background of the inability of the U-20 National Team, Flying Eagles, and the Senior Women Team, Super Falcons, to meet the expectations of Nigerians at their respective FIFA World Cup competitions.
He said: “We have from the outset noticed deficiencies in various aspects relating to the technical aspects of our national teams and moved swiftly to address the situation, hence one of our first initiatives was to organise training courses for match readers and to also buy into the Prozone Match Reading Software in order to build local competencies and match reading expertise to help our teams. Unfortunately these tournaments have come too early for us to reap the full benefits of this initiative which will take a little while to come to fruition.
He continued: “In the Super Falcons, we saw so much potential, youthfulness and ability, but it is clear that while we have conquered Africa there is still a lot of work to be done in the area of technical support before we can take on the world of Women’s football.”
The 1st Vice President noted that although the U-20 boys promised so much before the competition in New Zealand and even though Nigeria had probably one of the least experienced squads, when you consider that Germany had 8 (eight) of its players plying their trade in the Bundesliga, their performance at the tournament vindicated the view of the NFF that there is still a lot of work to be done in the area of youth football development in Nigeria. He said that the Amaju Pinnick led NFF board is however proud of the U-20 coaches who have imbibed the current NFF culture of using age grade competitions to expose the young players who will represent Nigeria at the FIFA World Cup in the future instead of adopting a win-at-all-cost mentality at these youth tournaments. He praised them for building a core of footballers from the U-17 level to the U-20 who are capable of doing Nigeria proud for years to come.
Akinwunmi, who is also Chairman of the Youth Development Committee of the NFF said efforts are already ongoing to entrench a comprehensive Youth Football Development Policy in Nigeria which will incorporate continuous development for our coaches even from the grassroots level. He noted that the NFF is in the process of employing a Youth Development Coach who will oversee the comprehensive Youth Football Development Programme that will be unveiled in the next few weeks, which will ensure proper scouting of players from the age of 13 and below, a seamless transition of the best players along the age grade ladder and ensure that Nigerian teams compete favourably at international competitions henceforth.
“We have the players to take us to glorious heights in the game, therefore with a lot more effort in the enhancement of the technical knowledge of our coaches and technical staff, a comprehensive and focused youth football development program, an assiduous look at critical areas of our football, we promise to build virile National Teams and a sustainable football culture that we all would be proud of. We only implore Nigerians to be a little patient and support the Federation.”