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  Ex-Nigerian international and former Nigerian U-20, U-23, and Super Eagles team coach, Samson Siasia has charged football administrators in Nigeria to raise their game if Nigeria wants to return to glory days in youth football. Since the triumph of the Nigerian U-17 national team at the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, youth teams in Nigeria has struggled to make an impact globally as regards age-grade competitions. After missing out on the 2017 edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the Golden Eaglets ended up being eliminated early in the 2019 edition.
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The story is not also different for the U-20 and U-23 teams. Siasia who led Nigeria to a second-place finish at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Holland, and won the country silver during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, as coach of the Nigeria U-23 team (also won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil as coach), opined that a proper structure will surely bring glory to Nigerian football at the grass-root level.
“It’s an administration problem. We need to have a structure that will help young players get to the next level. The FA is not doing a good job, they have the U-17, all the time they do trials all the young children in Nigeria will come to Abuja and some of them don’t even have the money to come to Abuja. The best ones are not discovered because they don’t have the money to come down to Abuja. You know what it is to come to Abuja if you live in the village.” Samson Siasia

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Siasia who is also notable for establishing a football academy in the country to help build future football stars for the country went further to advice football administrators in the country to breakdown the selection process for age-grade tournaments into segments to enable the identification of talents hidden in rural areas.
“We need to break it down to segment without having to tie them in one location. Pick the right players’ in the village or town or whatever. The coaches will do that one, then bring them together in one location where one of the head coaches of the U-17 national team then come around and pick the right one to train with.” Siasia
Source: Premium Times NG Featured Image Source: BBC
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This article was first published on 19th August 2020


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