World football governing body’s helmsman, Joseph Sepp Blatter, has acknowledged the growing profile of Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets at the FIFA U17 World Cup and has charged the country not to relent in the area of youth development.
The Golden Eaglets won the inaugural edition of the competition in 1985 and have never looked back ever since, winning more cadet titles to the admiration of Blatter and his executive.
Speaking with journalists in Abu Dhabi, Blattter hailed the contributions of Nigeria and also used the medium to praise the meaningful progress made by other nations to raise formidable youth teams that would stand the test of time.
He wants a youth developmental system that would have positive impact on the senior national team in the nearest future put in place by Nigeria.
Blatter promised that efforts are currently being intensified to ensure that Africa gets more slots from her present five but the world football governing body’s president urged teams from that continent to have improved performance at the senior national team level for additional slots to become a reality.
Blatter said: “Nigeria is a force to reckon with in youth football. The team has qualified for the final of the U17 World cup a record seven times. The Golden Eaglets and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) deserve some credit for this.
“The team also comes with surprises at all the competitions that they have attended. The Eaglets won the first edition of the FIFA U17 World Cup in 1985 and have maintained the consistency till date.”