NSC demands explanation for Flamingoes poor show

For failing to advance beyond the last eight of the just concluded U-17 Women World Cup in Costa Rica, the National Sports Commission (NSC) has expressed disappointment over what it described as a stagnation of Nigeria’s Flamingoes at the tournament.
The inability of country’s U-17 women team to go beyond the quarter-final of this year’s tournament made it three consecutive times the nation’s women team could not progress to the semi-final stage.

Speaking to Blueprint Sports in Abuja, director general of NSC, Hon Gbenga Elegbeleye, said he expected the Bala Nkiyu-tutored team to win their match against Spain.

According to the former House of Representatives member who joined minister of sports and NSC chairman, Dr. Tamuno Danagogo, to watch the team crash again in the quarter-final stage, “since we have not won the competition before, I expected the team to have gone beyond quarter-final which has been the highest stage the team could attain in the previous editions.

“Now that we have come back, we need to find out what led to the team’s loss to Spain after winning their three group matches. It was more painful that the two African teams crashed out on the same day, but we should be more concerned on what happened to the Flamingoes in the tournament.”
On whether lack of grassroots developmental programme contributed in the team’s not impressive outing in Costa Rica, the NSC D-G said: “It will be wrong to say that lack of developmental programme was the reason for their ouster from the completion.

“I’m aware that the football federation has youth age system from U-13 to U-20. I don’t aggress that we are lacking in terms of program for the underage team.”

His position was different from that of the coaches who heaped blame on the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) for failing to ensure adequate preparations for the young girls before the kickoff of the biennial competition.

Former assistant Flamingoes’ coach, Mansur Abdullahi said: “As far as I’m concerned, the coach is not to blame over why the team couldn’t advance to semi-final because he is not a magician. How can the federation hire a coach a few weeks to the tournament and expect him to perform magic?

“He was supposed to have been given the job of preparing the team that did not play any game before they qualified for the World Cup early enough. Don’t forget, most of these girls have not been exposed to play at that level.

If you want a team to do well at any tournament, you get them prepared.
“Again, you can’t compare the Nigerian side with a team like Spain that have up to seven handlers, some of them read the match while others do the technical job.

“Now, there is a Youth Olympic Games coming up later in the year. There should be an arrangement to expose these girls before major competitions. There could be changes in the technical crew but the head coach, Nkiyu, should be allowed to continue.

Also speaking, former FCT Queens’ head coach, Ngozi Eze, lamented over what she described as lack of developmental programme for female football in Nigeria and called for intensified plans to turn things around.

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