U-20 AFCON: Amuneke Blames Lack Of Teamwork For Nigeria’s Loss To Mali

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Former Golden Eaglets coach, Emmanuel Amuneke, has stated that the Flying Eagles lost their semi-final game against Mali on Tuesday at the ongoing U-20 African Nations Cup in Niger Republic, due to over- reliance on individual talents in the team.

The Paul Aigbogun-tutored side lost 4-3 on penalties to Mali after playing 1-1 in regulation time. But the team had booked their place at the World Cup coming up in Poland later in the year.

Amuneke, who is an observer at the tournament, said though the team lost via penalty shootout against the fellow West Africans, the result means there is a lot of work to be done in the team.

He said, “Unfortunately in penalties, it is always very difficult to predict who will win. But it is also a sign that there is a lot of work to do. In modern football, you can’t just depend on one or two individual talents. You have to see how you can bring the team to work collectively.

“This team have to do that, it is not about criticizing them, but holistically from their games I’ve watched, I think it is a team that depend on individual players and that will not take you anywhere.”

Meanwhile, Manga Mohammed, a former Flying Eagles player, has noted that the team made too many mistakes in Niamey. He urged Aigbogun to correct the errors in the team before the World Cup.

“Thank God we have qualified for the World Cup. What the team should do now is correct the lapses in the team before the World Cup. Thank God this is coming before the main championship in Poland,” he said.

The U-20 side will face South Africa in the third place on Saturday, while Mali will face Senegal in the final on Sunday.

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