Dream Cup: Dogged 10-man Future Eagles End Competition In Narrow Defeat, Returns Home On Tuesday

Dream Cup: Dogged 10-man Future Eagles End Competition In Narrow Defeat, Returns Home On Tuesday

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By Amaechi Agbo

Ten-man Nigeria’s U-15 male football team, the Future Eagles on Sunday morning norrowly lost 2-1 to USA in their final game at the 2023 International Dream Cup Tournament in Japan.

The Nigeria teens who showed much improvements from their previous two matches however could not surmount the USA hurdles.

Udoh solomon of N Youth Football Academy of Abuja score Nigeria’s goal in the 84th minute shortly after Alantan Azuka collected a red card in the match

The Futures Eagles rallied round after going 2-0 up to half the deficiet and despite having a late surge in the final moments of the game including hitting the bar in the added time, they could not find the equalizer.

Group leaders, Netherlands and host Japan will play the final game to determine the winner of the four-nation annual tournament. The Orange nation needs just a draw to win their first Dream Cup tournament.

Japan has won the competition a record five times.

Nigeria played three matches in the competition but lost all of them, thus ending bottom of the table.

They lost 1-0 against the Netherlands on June 1, lost 6-1 against Japan on Friday before their narrow defeat against USA Sunday morning.

They conceded nine goals and scored two. The team which had only two weeks camping in Abuja ahead of the tournament and faced myraids of challenges, played beautiful football and were hailed by their opposing coaches despite the scorelines they recorded.

The tournament, no doubt, is a commendable outing and the team’s performance, notwithstanding, just as it is a developmental tournament aimed at building for the future, it is instructive that the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF should, as a matter of urgency, start a structural system that would see the team kept together and further international competitions organised for them.

With just two weeks for camping – seven days for screening and 8 days for proper training of players who are very young and know next to nothing in football, their performances in the Dream Cup Championship requires commendation.

The team will return to the country on Tuesday after. They will leave the Asian nation on Monday afternoon and arrive Nigeria 23 hours later.

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