I went online this morning for the usual ritual of FaceBooking and I came across a friend’s status update where he was particularly impressed by the U-20 Eagles success. The argument that drew my attention was that, this was just another set of over-aged players set to keep us in perpetual sadness as far as football competitions exist.
I didn’t immediately understand what that meant, but then after going through several other comments, it was clear that this guy was very futuristic in his assertion.
The Green eagles may have performed excellently now but it will be interesting to see how the same set of players cope when the chips are down in 5 years time when they all move up to the senior team. The argument is that, because they are already over-aged, they would have faded out in 5 years time when their opponents would be arriving their peak.
It is not out of place to have such reservations especially when one looks back at the recent show of shame at the just concluded FIFA world Cup in South Africa 2010. We saw that the best teams were mainly those teams with plenty of age on their side.
Not that I have anything against experience, but we have also seen that youth and experience can come in one package. Ready examples will be seen in the Spanish team-Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique. We can also point at players like Lionel Messi, Ozil, Miroslav Klose, Muller etc.
These are players who were not only aided by youth but by experience of competing at the highest level. Young players can garner the needed experience if they are exposed early enough. This is only possible if there is a well thought out youth development system in our football. Other wise, what we just saw isn’t really uhuru but just another sunset at dawn.