General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, regards the 4-2 defeat suffered by the Nigeria U-20 team in its opening match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup against Brazil as no more than a wake –up call.
Speaking in Abuja on Monday, Sanusi declared that the Flying Eagles matched their Brazilian counterparts pace-for-pace and skill-for-skill in the first 45 minutes, only to take their feet off the pedal in the second period.
“I am sad, but not disappointed. I know that the team gave its all and that they have learnt their lessons and will approach the remaining matches with even more seriousness. Football is like that.
“I have no fears about how far the Flying Eagles can go in the tournament. If you may recall, at the last African Youth Championship in Senegal, the host nation lost their opening match of the competition, to our Flying Eagles, and eventually reached the final to play the same Flying Eagles. So, losing your first match in a tournament does not mean you are already down and out.”
Sanusi appealed to Nigerians from all walks of life to retain their belief in the team and pray for the boys as they go out against North Korea on Thursday and against Hungary few days later.
“All that the boys need is to fully concentrate and believe in their ability. The defeat by Brazil was their first loss in a competitive match since they came together as a team. The downfall of a man is not the end of his life. They need to pick themselves up, focus hard on the tournament, rework their strategies and with the prayers of all Nigerians, they will get it right.”
The Nigeria U-20 lost 2-4 to their Brazilian counterparts in the opening match of Group E at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, after both teams went into recess tied at 2-2. Goals by Success Isaac and Musa Yahaya were Nigeria’s first –ever goals against Brazil in the history of the FIFA U-20 World Cup.