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Nigeria U17

‘There is cause for alarm’ – Mohammed wails over Nigeria’s planning for age-grade competitions

10:42 GMT+4 29/01/2020
Muktar Mohammed
The country’s cadet teams are expected to begin their quest for international competition berths next month

Mukhtar Mohammed has voiced his discontent with Nigeria’s ill preparations for their upcoming international age-grade championship.

The Nigeria U17 women’s team begins their quest for a place in the U17 Women’s World Cup billed for India in February, while the U20 side would be hoping to pick one of Africa’s tickets to Costa Rica & Panama when qualifiers get underway in March.

However, these teams have not started any form of training as they remain without a team or a technical crew for the assignments ahead.

Although the Nigeria Football Federation had promised to announce a new set of coaches and start camping as soon as possible, Mohammed – a seasoned football administrator and FCT FA boss expresses his worries over the fire brigade approach.

“There is cause for alarm because naturally, you would see that the most successful countries in the world are the most stable in terms of their setup, technical crew and so on,” Mohammed told Goal.

“As I have always said, we need a template to grow our football, we need a style, a culture and need to build from the technical department so that all our national teams are synergised and play the same way.

“So, when you pick a player from U17, it is easy to assimilate up until the Super Eagles. We are in sort of darkness at the moment but I think we will get it right.”

It was a failed expedition for Nigeria at the 2018 edition of the U20 Women’s World Cup in France, as the Falconets returned home with heads bowed low after the quarter-finals.

For the Flamingos, it was worse as they failed to qualify for the first time in U17 competition history in Uruguay the same year.

And Mohammed feels the tale is likely to continue except those in the country’s football house start doing the right things which he opines are not rocket science.

“I think we should have a more robust technical department that takes charge, then we should headhunt the best possible coaches – and have a long list of possible replacements at all times,” he continued.

“Even for the players, we should have a database, we should start preparations much earlier and have a system that when a coach comes, there a template and laid down rules to guide their activities.

“Last year, we lost in all the age-grade competitions. We went out poorly and there was no review or a panel to tell Nigerians where we got it wrong.”