Nigera golden eaglets came out in flying colours – Nigeria Golden Eaglets open the defense of the cup they won two years ago ,when they confront the USA in Chile on Saturday Oct 17 at 9pm.
Stadium name Estadio Nacional Julio MartÃnez PrÃ¡danosCitySantiago De Chile (Nigera golden eaglets came out in flying colours)
Nigera golden eaglets
Nigerian Nduka Ugbade is in the history books as the first captain to lift the FIFA U-17 World Cup. That was in 1985 when the young defender captained the Golden Eaglets to victory in the first-ever FIFA tournament at that age level.Ugbade shares his memories of China 1985 with FIFA.com and looks forward to Chile 2015, where the west African country will be looking to secure a fifth U-17 crown.Ugbade admits that when the team arrived in China 30 years ago, they were at first overwhelmed by what they saw. â€œWe had the desire to do well, but we did not expect to win. Seeing all the big teams participating in the competition and playing in stadiums filled with 80,000 people was something we did not expect. Of course we had heard of FIFA and seen the World Cup on television, but the magnitude of the competition was not known to us until we got to China.â€
Some 27 years later, Ugbade had an opportunity to again experience glory in the competition, when he assisted Manu Garba as the Golden Eaglets won their fourth title, beating Mexico 3-0 in the final played in Abu Dhabi. Interestingly, it was the fourth U-17 World Cup played in Asia and Nigeria have won all of them.
For Ugbade, being part of the set-up again showed him just how different times were. â€œBack then it was about making a name for ourselves and representing the country, but for the players today there are different aspects. The level of poverty is high now, and what drives most of the youths is the desire to play well, win and be signed by big clubs all over the world. At the end of the day they want to make it [professionally], so that their lives can be changed.â€
Different times and rewards
Ugbade scoffs at the idea that he is bitter about playing in a time when players were rewarded with small scholarships instead of receiving lucrative contracts. â€œI can’t be disappointed because that is what it was for our time. The time we live in now is totally different. If I say I am disappointed, what about the likes of legends like Christian Chukwu and Segun Odegbami and the rest. They played great football in the past – among the best the country has produced, yet they had no opportunity to make money. What they received for playing in the national team was a name.â€
The 45-year-old, who spent three years playing in Spain and also played for clubs in Singapore and Malaysia, believes that the Golden Eaglets will face a very tough challenge in Chile. â€œThe Chileans have just won the Copa America and the pressure is on them to produce an U-17 team that will be able to beat the world.