Following the qualification of the Flying Eagles of Nigeria for the quarter-finals of the ongoing Under 20 World Cup, former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Idah Peterside has advised the team handlers to keep football agents far from the team to avoid distractions.
He called on the players to concentrate and play as a team to excel in the tournament and afterwards, the legacies of their performances will ensure that they progress in their individual careers.
“I will tell them to play because at this age they want to play, they want to be seen. Already we are hearing information that our central defender wants to be signed by Bayern Munich, and our midfielder wants to be signed by Anderlecht; we don’t need that kind of distraction.
“Keep away the agents from these players and tell them to play for your country, play as a team, have team cohesion first then later the legacies of your performance will show,” Peterside said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday.
Having beaten the host team Argentina 2-0 to progress to the quarter-finals on Wednesday, the Nigerian team will face South Korea on Sunday for a chance to secure passage into the semi-final.
Peterside warned that the Flying Eagles shouldn’t underrate the Koreans, recalling how the senior national team the Super Eagles underrated the Koreans in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and paid for it with a loss.
“I was the media officer to the Super Eagles in South Africa 2010, we have played all our games and I think we needed a draw against the same Korean side to be able to progress to the next round and we were all saying ‘we go finish them, we go kill them’ which affected us and we did not win that game.”
He also recalled how different people entering the dressing room to make monetary promises to the players ruined the chances of the team progressing to the next round and feared the same may be the case with the Flying Eagles team in Argentina.
“I know Adenuga at that time had come to the dressing room, he addressed the team and promised us one million dollars if we beat Korea which is what is going to happen to this team and I have always said, leave these players alone.
“I just saw a video where some guy went to see the guys and promised them $3,000 for a win. We must keep money away from this team, we must allow these boys to focus. I have always said it, there is this thing we do in Nigeria that is quite irritating.
“You bring officials into the dressing room, you bring NFF officials into the dressing room – it’s confusion, allow the coach to speak to the players, impact the players with the knowledge he wants to impact them with because they have another 45 minutes to play, it has become a normal thing in our national teams and its killing us,” Peterside added.