FIFA U-20 WORLD CUP: OBUH URGES EAGLES FOCUS
As the FIFA U-20 World Cup rolls off today in Colombia, Coach of Nigeria's Flying Eagles, John Obuh has told his wards to take care of things in the proper order. Obuh said this against the backdrop of the searchlight that is going to be beamed on players playing in the tournament, which often times, tend to make the players to play for their self, rather than for the team.
Obuh told fifa.com that 'A few players intend to take advantage of this World Cup to awaken the interest of big European clubs and obtain lucrative contracts,' said the Flying Eagles coach, whose squad draws heavily from the exciting generation that finished runners-up at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2009.
'Above all, they don't want to stay in Nigeria. I never stop telling my players that they need to learn to take care of things in their proper order. Right now, they have to focus all their attention on this competition. There' ll be time later to negotiate contracts overseas.'
To paraphrase Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics, it is not winning, but taking part that counts. That noble ideal still resonates today, yet is unlikely to find much traction among the 24 sides gearing up for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011. Beyond the sheer joy of simply hoisting the trophy, victory could change everything for the young players on show, with a fast track to professional success sure to open up before them.
The competition's various coaches will frame their team talks accordingly, though their personal goals can hardly be said to differ. They too harbour dreams of emerging triumphant while wanting to prepare their charges for a future in the game.
'It will be an unforgettable event for my players,' Croatian tactician Ivan Grnja told FIFA.com a few months ago.