Cadet national team, Golden Eaglets coach, Manu Garba has hinted that the referee of his side’s opening game against Burkina Faso at the Africa U-17 Nations Cup zonal qualifiers was not fair to his lads, as he believes they deserved added time before the final whistle.
After watching his side battle gallantly only to fall 3-2 against the Burkinabe in Niamey, Niger Republic, Manu reckoned that it would have been a different story had the referee punished the opponents for time wasting.
Manu’s view came after the Nigerian kids dominated possession but failed to hang on, as they fell to a second half strike after coming from two goals down to bring scores to 2-2 before the half time break.
The UAE 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup-winning coach, however, insisted Burkina Faso did not play fair during the game and lamented their time wasting antics, especially when Nigeria tried to build some kind of momentum during the fading minutes.
Manu said it was disappointing to see kids play such negative tactics, which he hinted he will never teach his own players, and stressed that they now have to concentrate on how to beat Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday.
Manu, though, also admitted that his that the Golden Eaglets failed to convert several of their chances which contributed to their loss in the opening game in Group B.
Nigeria have won the World Cup on five occasions, most recently in 2015 but did not take part in the 2017 edition hosted by India, but Manu assured that his wards will beat Cote d’Ivoire on Thursday and reach the semi-finals.
Manu said: “Players of Burkina Faso didn’t play fair with their time wasting antics and we expected the referee to add a sizeable amount after regulation time, unfortunately he didn’t.
“We can’t be teaching kids how to dive and kill time at this age and stage of their career, (but) we have shifted our focus to the next game.
”I believe if the Burkinabes have not been falling down to waste time, the story would have been different because we dominated possession, we created a lot of chances too but didn’t take our chances.
”This is just the first match, we still have a chance to come back to the competition. A win against Ivory Coast, maybe, will take us to the semi-finals.”