Golden Eaglets’ goalkeeper trainer, Emeka Amadi has affirmed his protege Akpan Udoh has nothing to be ashamed off despite missing the best custodian award at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015.
Akpan was in goal throughout the tournament for Nigeria and was on top of the rack with an impressive 24 saves in seven matches but was adjudged second best to Malian Samuel Diarra by the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) for the Golden Gloves Award,
“I’m happy that Akpan played his part very well in ensuring that we won the World Cup in Chile,” began Amadi who guided Dele Alampasu to win the maiden edition of the Golden Gloves Award at UAE 2013. “It would have been nice if Akpan was picked as the best keeper but winning the World Cup is greater than any individual award.”
Amadi, who was in goal for the Flying Eagles at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Saudi Arabia 1989, said he was pleased with Akpan’s overall performance explaining the teenager has a brighter future. “The World Cup allowed us to see that Akpan is a very good keeper and he justified my judgment for picking him ahead of other goalkeepers; and I think we are going to see more of him in other levels of the national team.”
In a related development, Goalkeeper Amos Benjamin who was Golden Eaglets first choice until Akpan came into the picture has equally doffed his hat to his supposed rival.
“I want to thank God because he helped us to achieve success by winning the World Cup after we had come third or fourth in other competitions before,” stated Benjamin who was given the Best Goalkeeper Award when Golden Eaglets came third at the 2014 WAFU U-17 Tournament in Togo.
He continued: “Initially, it was painful to lose the (goal -keeping) position to Akpan but he has shown that he was a better choice. Personally, I’m happy to have been part of this team and I’m grateful to coach Amadi because I’ve learned so much under him; and it is a great feeling to be part of this winning team,” he noted.