Assistant coach of the Nigeria Under-20 national team, Nduka Ugbade, has attributed the bit-part role enjoyed by striker Kelecvhi Iheanacho at the just concluded FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand to lack of fitness and match rustiness.
He said under-performance by the 2013 U-20 World Cup MVP does not diminish his rating as a good player but asked him to focus more in keeping fit, as he rejoins his teammates for pre season tour.
“Iheanacho no doubt is a fantastic player, but his fitness level when he joined the rest of the squad for the World Cup was low, and we worked hard to get him to shape but for the short period we had before the competition, there was little we could do.
“But that does not mean he is now a bad player, no, rather he must take his fitness exercises seriously to get back to his best shape and I’m happy he is travelling with the rest of the squad at Manchester City for their pre season tour were they will work on him”.
“We understood his shortcoming because he just returned from a lengthy injury lay off and with time he should be at his best,” Ugbade said.
The ex-international further encouraged coach of Nigeria’s Olympic team, Samson Siasia, to give Iheanacho and indeed other members of the Flying Eagles, recently invited to fortify his team, the chance to make the difference.
“I’m happy coach Siasia has invited Iheanacho and other members of the Flying Eagles to the Dream Team and I hope they will make the difference Nigerians expect from them,” said Ugbade.