Flying Eagles Broke my heart, and I cried, Swore Never to Fall in Love Again | But Can Manu Garba’s Team Reverse the Wrong of Chile 87

 I can’t help but fall in love again with Manu Garba  tutored flying eagles. Not with the way the team convincingly won Africa youth championship (AYC), Super 6 tournament and subdued all teams that came across their way on the road to New  Zealand. You can’t but trust that this team will deliver!

The pedigree of these youngsters is already amazing and their winning mentality is something else. They won FIFA U 17 World cup in 2013 and successfully upgraded to play at FIFA U 20 World Cup scheduled to commence in New Zealand on May 30, 2015.

But as I followed the team with so much passion, there seem to be this ping in my heart that brings back the pain.

I’ve once been a victim of love. I fell in love with Flying Eagles team that went to Chile in 1987. Everything was going for the team and I came to believe that there was no  team in the world that is capable of defeating them.

The media hypes didn’t help matters. Propelled by the success of the U17 team two years earlier in China 1985 and the manner Flying  Eagles won the African qualifiers with large scores 4 – 0, 3 – 0, 5 – 1… The team tutored by Chris Udemizue was rated so high with their tick- ticker style of play similar to Brazil;s Samba.

Indeed, the team had some awesome talent: Goalkeeper Willy Okpara, Ladi Babalola, Nosa Osahdalo, Ene Okon, Peter Niekietein, Austin Igbinobare, Jonathan Akpoborie, Adeolu Adekola and the over hyped star Etim Estin. The expectations were high and as far as I was concerned, the Flying Eagles will overun any team that came their way in Chile.

I recall that the first mates was also against Brazil and in just 10 minutes into the game flying eagles conceded 2 goals.Free kick taken by Andre Cruz, dock away to the far corner of the goal post, beyond the reach of Willy Okpara.

I have never felt so disappointed in my life. The game ended 0 - 4, to my alt-most surprise, Brazil out played the flying eagles all through the match. I was so flabbergasted that I became feverish even before the end of the match.

Chile 87, flying eagles lost two matches, Brazil 4 – 0, Italy 2 – 0,  drew Canada 1 - 1 and crashed out at the group stage of the tournament. I swore to myself that I’ll never be emotionally involved any longer..

And now I’m beginning to feel that same love for the present Flying Eagles. I tried not to think that FIFA U20 world Cup in Newzealand might be déjà vu. I rather see it as the set time to revenge Chile 87 humiliation. I’ll love to see the present Flying Eagles team so out play the Brazilians and score nothing short of four goals to zero, come june 1, 2015.

However, the present team should not make the same mistake of Chile 87 as Eguavoen, former Super Eagles coach cautioned that Flying Eagles should remain focus and play to indtructions of the coaches, The team should not allow its past record at the African level ot perhaps, media hypes distract them.

“In a tournament like FIFA World cup, there are bound to be distractions – reporters, Scouts and Agents hovering around camp; internal bickering could even come from NFF or government officials, maybe disagreement of match bonuses and camp allowances. The boys should just remain focus because winning the tournament will bring about better career pprogression for most of them.” Eguavoen counseled.

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