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There are more Nwakalis, Osimhens waiting to be discovered, says Amuneke

World champions… Coach Amuneke believes there are more talents on the streets of Nigeria waiting to be harnessed for the national teams. PHOTO: AFP

World champions… Coach Amuneke believes there are more talents on the streets of Nigeria waiting to be harnessed for the national teams. PHOTO: AFP

Golden Eaglets coach, Emmanuel Amuneke, believes Nigeria has no business lamenting the dearth of quality players for the national teams, saying there are many talented stars waiting to be discovered.

The Super Eagles have been criticised for their recent performances, especially during their 2016 World Cup qualifier against Swaziland. The criticism has been centred mostly on the lack of quality stars in the national team.

But Amuneke argues that Nigeria has a lot of talented players in the streets waiting to be discovered.

Drawing from his team’s success at the Chile 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, Amuneke told The Guardian yesterday that the Golden Eaglets were able to dominate the world because he took the pains to go round the country to unearth talents that would have ended their dreams of playing top grade football in the streets if he had not given them the opportunity.

The former Super Eagles winger disclosed that he worked hard to instill confidence in the Eaglets following the criticism that trailed the team’s performance at the Africa Youth Championship in Niger.

He noted that players like Kelechi Nwakali, Victor Osimhen and other members of the team that won the U-17 Championship were written off by some people before the world championship, adding that hard work and hunger for success were the secret of the team’s sterling performance in Chile.

“Nigeria has abundant talents waiting to be discovered. During the search for players for the Golden Eaglets before the U-17 championship, most of the players in the team like Nwakali, Osimhen and others were written off, but due to my knowledge of grassroots football as a former player, I took my time to instill confidence in these players to bring out the best in them.
The result at the end of the day was victory,” he said.

The coach advised the parents of the victorious U-17 team “to guide the players to enable them get the right direction in life.

“Winning the U-17 World Cup is not the end of their career. They have to forge ahead to build their career in football and academics. The players should be discouraged from falling on the hands of bad agents. Most of the Eaglets have the potential to be key players in the Super Eagles team in future.”



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