It was clearly evident from the post-match comments that Jackson Magera, the U17 national team coach (The Cubs), was a very relieved man after achieving a slim victory at the ongoing UEFA ASSIST International Tournament in Turkey.
The Cubs defeated Belarus 1-0, a goal scored by Ismail Mugurusi in the 33rd minute took some pressure off Magera after 4-1 defeats against Cameroon and Morocco.
“I thank God we’ve won the game, the boys played well, they created chances and this result has boosted their confidence.”
Those were clearly words of a man who felt a tonne load of pressure taken off his shoulders after the depleting losses.
In those two encounters, it was clearly evident that the Cubs are not at the level of their counterparts as they were outwitted in both games hands down.
And so this result (the win over Belarus) is something that should resonate well amidst The Cubs technical team ahead of the U17 finals in Tanzania next month.
There was indeed a call for a change in approach and the previous two howlers definitely exposed the tactical naivety of The Cubs and maybe Magera heeded to this.
“But we saw in the previous two games the defence was doing too many childish mistakes so we worked on them, and finishing, that’s why you see we’ve had a very good result.
“And even there are some tactical changes we made in attack and in midfield, so it has helped us to have such a result,” he added.
It’s fair to say The Cubs did save their best for the last but sceptics may still point out the quality of the opposition on the night as not being at the level The Cubs do aspire to reach to.
After their European tour, the Cubs will have another camp in South Africa before heading to the Dar Es Salaam where they will also have a shot at the 2019 FIFA U19 World Cup qualifiers.