The Nigeria Football Federation has adopted a new strategy for building the country’s future U-17 teams, according to the Chairman of the NFF Technical and Development Committee, Chief Felix Anyansi-Agwu.
Anyansi-Agwu, a ranking member of the NFF Executive Committee and chairman of two –time African champions Enyimba FC, told thenff.com on Sunday that the new measure is pragmatic and cost-effective, and will enable the building of a strong squad within a short period of time.
“I have already discussed the new approach with the present technical crew of the U-17 team led by Emmanuel Amuneke and they love the idea. We decided on this new approach because it will save us time and funds in the long run.”
He explained: “Instead of doing the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) examination for all manner of players with potential, we just look at those that have potential from the beginning and create a pool of between 60 and 70 players for whom we will conduct the examination. That way, we can drop those who fail the test quickly and run with those who pass and are therefore eligible.”
The Technical and Development Committee chairman believes conducting the test after identifying players with promise (as was done in the past) was actually putting the cart before the horse.
“There is no point conducting open screening for players and discovering 100 players with some promise, and then you go for the test and 80 of them fail the test. You are back to square one, or at best compelled to make do with the remaining meagre pool, which may be populated by mediocre or average players. If you don’t like what you have, you return to the screening ground and take more players and move them to the laboratory, then probably find out that they also are ineligible. That approach is very long –winding, time -consuming and capital –intensive.
“That was one factor that worked against our U-17 team at the African Championship in Niger Republic earlier this year.”
The Golden Eaglets finished in fourth place at the African U-17 Championship in Niger, picking the last African ticket to the FIFA U-17 World Cup scheduled for Chile later this year.
“We believe the new approach we have adopted is much better and pragmatic, and will enable us to raise a much stronger team for the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, and in good time as well.”