By Anthony Nlebem.
The head coach of the Golden Eaglets Nduka Ugbade said his team would have won against Burkina Faso if they had converted their chances.
The Eaglets lost 2-1 to Young Etalons in the quarter-finals of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations in Algeria.
The defeat meant elimination from the tournament, and ending the World Cup ticket ambition for the five-time world champions who created lots of scoring opportunities.
Speaking to CAFonline, the 53-year-old tactician who captained the Eaglets side that won the maiden edition of the FIFA U-16 World Cup in 1985, believed his boys would have sealed a World Cup spot if they had been more clinical in front of goal.
“Everything worked as we had planned, but we could not score with the chances we had. We paid dearly for that. We learn the lessons and move on,” Ugbade told CAFonline.
He however expressed delight at his team’s performance while noting that defeat will help to strengthen the mentality of the players in future age categories.
“The players are disappointed of course because they are young but we must support them because they need to continue their careers. We should work on their development because I believe that some of these players will eventually move to the senior national team,” the tactician said after the defeat to Burkina Faso.
“I am happy with the performance of our players and in such competitions, even if you lose, you gain something by developing the players for the future.”
On their journey to the quarter-finals, the five-time world champions pipped Zambia 1-0 in their opening match, lost by the same margin to Morocco in their second game and defeated South Africa 3-2 in an interesting five-goal thriller.