AFCON: Flying Eagles’ failure setback for football development – Yakubu Aiyegbeni

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Former Super Eagles ace Yakubu Aiyegbeni is channeling efforts to identifying and grooming young football talents it has been revealed.

Former Super Eagles striker, Yakubu Aiyegbeni, has described as ‘unfortunate’ the Flying Eagles’ absence from the 2021 U20 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Ladan Bosso’s team experienced an uninspiring outing at the WAFU U20 Zone B campaign staged in Benin Republic which cost them a place in Mauritania.

The team played a 1-1 draw with Cote d’Ivoire in their opening match before losing 1-0 to Ghana in their second outing. This meant their aspirations of reaching the biennial football championship faded into thin air.

Saddened by the seven-time African champions’ predicament, Aiyegbeni said missing the 16th edition of the U20 AFCON is a sad development for Nigeria’s football.

“It’s sad,” Ayegbeni told Goal. “Not just because we didn’t qualify, but for the young ones at the age of 19 and 20; there will be no way for them to play because they will have to wait for another two years – then, they would be 22.

“They have missed the golden opportunity to play for the Nigerian U20 team.

“It’s a setback and I hope we put things right at the next edition so that we can qualify for the U20 World Cup. It is a big setback for the country in terms of football development.”

For the 38-year-old, it is difficult to point out where Bosso’s boys got things wrong – however, he recommends that previous mistakes should be corrected to avoid missing the next edition slated for 2023.

“I didn’t watch any of their [the Flying Eagles] games, but I heard about the results, so I’m not going to say we got it wrong from here or there,” he continued.

“I don’t know what happened, but we didn’t qualify, and I hope we are going to learn from our mistakes. It is sad we didn’t qualify for the U20 African Cup of Nations.”

The Black Satellites defeated debutants Uganda 2-0 at Nouakchott’s Stade Olympique to rule Africa for the fourth time. Together with Gambia and Tunisia, the quartet would have qualified for the 2021 Fifa U20 World Cup in Indonesia as Africa’s representatives.

However, the world football governing body decided to cancel the tournament due to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

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