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Adepoju, Lawal refuse to condemn Eaglets despite failure in Brazil

(L-R) Usman Ibrahim of Nigeria is conforted by Soulaiman Allouch of Netherlands after loosing the match for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019 on November 05, 2019 in Goiania, Brazil.
(L-R) Usman Ibrahim of Nigeria is conforted by Soulaiman Allouch of Netherlands after loosing the match for the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019 on November 05, 2019 in Goiania, Brazil.

Former Super Eagles players, Mutiu Adepoju and Garba Lawal have refused to join the band wagon as other Nigerians continue to express their disappointment in the 2019 Golden Eaglets.

The five-time world champions recently dashed the hopes of millions of Nigerian football fans when they failed to go beyond the Round of 16 in the ongoing FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil.

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Although Nigerians have not hidden their disappointment with many calling for the team’s participation in the youth tournament to be probed, Adepoju who spoke to Daily Trust yesterday said it will be wrong to persecute the youngsters.

“It is a developmental tournament and they are young players. We lost like any other team that can lose. Only one country can win.

“Even when you lose the senior World Cup, the country goes back to the drawing back and see what went wrong.

“The loss is not the end of football or life. We have good players if they are well nurtured, trained, they could be good for the Super Eagles.

“We have good players who can dribble and score goals. Although the defence was not too good, it is just a matter of training the players,” he advised.

Lawal, a member of the victorious 1996 Dream Team 1 also said the Eaglets fell to a team with superior technical knowledge but the players should be encouraged.

“I played in Holland so I know what they can do when it comes to youth football. They are highly technical. They overwhelmed our boys technically.

“I believe they took time to study videos of the Golden Eaglets. They discovered their strengths and weaknesses.

“Although I won’t mind if some of the players are retained, the final decisions lies with the coach of the national U-20 team.

“He knows better the quality of players to use. If he decides to use some of them, it won’t be a bad idea,” said the former Roda JC of Holland utility player.

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