Defensive frailties and a less than convincing efficiency in front of goal constitute major headache for coach Manu Garba, as Nigeria’s junior national soccer team continue their final build-up to this year’s FIFA Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand. Garba made this observation known to journalists shortly after his team beat Hoffeinheim 5-2 in the first of their tune-up games in Germany.
Though Taiwo Awoniyi grabbed a hat-trick, and Godwin Saviour and Chidera Ezeh scored a goal each as the Flying Eagles outclassed the Under-23 team of the German Bundesliga side, Garba admits he has a lot of work to do with the team if the African Champions must excel at the competition in New Zealand. “We started the game slowly, but we later picked up to play our normal game,” he said.
“It was a good outing overall and I will score us about 70%.” “But again we need to work on our defence by taking on more defensive responsibilities and our finishing has to be better as we lost several chances.
“All the same, we should also praise the Hoffenheim team, they are a team of professional players and they took the game to us very early on.”
Graba’s wards will on Friday take on the Under-23 side of another Bundesliga side, Nuremberg, after which he is expected to announce the 21 players that would be flying Nigeria’s flag at the World Cup.
The team will square up against the U-23 team of yet another Bundesliga club, Freiburg, before departing their German camp for New Zealand on May 23th.
The Flying Eagles, nestled in Group E along with Brazil, Hungary and South Korea, will open their campaign for World Cup glory on June 1 with a potentially explosive match against fivetime champions Brazil.