Nigeria’s U-17 team go into the final of the 2013 Fifa U-17 World Cup final as firm favourites but they must be cautiousANALYSISBy Babajide Alaka | Deputy Editor
The hardest thing for Coach Garba Manu and his technical team will be how to motivate his players to see the final as another very important assignment and not as a crowning ceremony and that is because the Eaglets thrashed their final opponents, Mexico, 6-1 in their opening match.
So Goal looks at five things that the Eaglets need to do to make sure that all their skill and enterprise gets the final prize.
|GET THE BALL MORE TO KELECHI IHEANACHO IN CENTRAL MIDFIELD|
His pass to set up Awoniyi for the first goal against Uruguay was pinpoint and something from the Mesut Ozil book while the scoop pass for the first goal against Sweden was simply sublime.
But it has to be said that he drifts out of games when the ball is not supplied to him just behind the main striker. Abdulahi Alfa and Akinjide Dairo (if he is restored to the starting 11), need to look up more and give him the ball so he can continue setting up the strikers. The key for the Eaglets is to get the ball to him quickly so that he can work his magic. And if he chooses not to pass, he has a great left foot that can deliver the goals needed.
|TRY NOT TO CONCEDE FREE KICKS AROUND THE BOX|
The first two goals they scored against Argentina in the semi final showed that proficiency. So the Eaglets must do well to limit their fouls to the centre of the pitch where set pieces can least hurt them.
|OKON MUST STAY TIGHT WITH IVAN OCHOA|
And he always appears at the far post to gobble up any knock downs from his mates or from the opponent so the Eaglets’ left-back Samuel Okon, who has been one of the best Nigerian players at this championship, must be constantly tuned on for the runs of this elusive player.
The best thing to do is make sure he is picked up immediately he gets near the Nigerian box and man-marked until all danger is cleared.
|MOHAMMED SHOULD BE CAUTIOUS IN BOMBING FORWARD|
And Mexico has shown that they are a good counter attacking side and will use any spaces left by inordinate forays forward by Mohammed.
Therefore Coach Manu Garba needs to instill in Mohammed the discipline he shows as a defensive midfielder – go forward when you are almost 100% sure that you have a backup in case the forward move is punctured.
|CAUTION AKINJIDE DAIRO ON HOLDING THE BALL TOO MUCH|
In the 3-3 draw with Sweden in the group stage, he was caught dawdling on the ball on more than one occasion. The Mexicans will be looking to pinch the ball off any of the Nigerian midfielders to launch a quick counter.
So all of them but most importantly Dairo, because he has the most touches on the ball, must be constantly aware of what is around them. One touch control and pass into space will be the neatest solution. -------- goal.com