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U17 World Cup

U17 World Cup: Golden Eaglets must place personal glory aside against the Netherlands - Okuku

15:11 SAST 2019/11/05
Nigeria U17
The football grassroots exponent claims Manu Garba’s boys must become less selfish in front of goal to scale the Oranje hurdle
Olatunji Samuel Okuku believes Nigeria can defeat the Netherlands if their players tone down their obsession with goals.

Still fresh from their 2-1 defeat to Australia, the Golden Eaglets face the Oranje in Wednesday’s 2019 U17 World Cup Round of 16 fixture.

The five-time world champions have found the net just eight times in three games despite a staggering 74 attempts at goal.

Although not downplaying the quality in Manu Garba’s squad, the football administrator feels the team is still missing a few crucial ingredients and stressed the players have to learn when to go for goal themselves and when to pass it to a teammate. 

“This is going to be a very tough match and surely will be a close contest because both teams have the prospect of going through,” Okuku told Goal.

“Just like the Golden Eaglets, Netherlands have conceded goals too, however, they kept a clean slate against the USA – so our ability not to concede will be a very huge factor in this encounter.

“Unlike Nigeria who play as individuals, the Netherlands play as a unit and you can see the cohesion in their previous games. This is one of the things that play out in the knockout stage of a competition like this.

“The coach should be able to talk to the boys on putting the country first before personal interest because creating over 30 chances in their last game and scoring just once is not a good sign at all.

“It looks like everyone wants to take the glory and that is really working against us. Passes should be given to whosoever is in a better position to score. If this is done, then we will definitely win.”

Should Nigeria scale the European hurdle at Goiania’s Estadio Olimpico, they will face either Paraguay or Argentina in the last eight.