Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Features

Nijja in shock after Super Eagles turn chicken

KESHI-SUDANABUJA, November 20- African champions Nigeria were reeling on Thursday after they failed to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations to defend their title.

The Super Eagles finished a disappointing third in Group A on eight points despite a 2-2 draw against South Africa on Wednesday night in the southern town of Uyo.

The failure to qualify mirrored the disappointment when Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2012 tournament hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

The scorer of Nigeria’s two goals, Sone Aluko, said the whole team was devastated.

“I am disappointed, everybody is disappointed,” said the Hull City forward. “We did not get the result we wanted and we now have to pick ourselves up as a team.”

Out-of-contract coach Stephen Keshi blamed his players for taking South Africa too lightly in a match they needed to win to qualify for the tournament finals, to be held in Equatorial Guinea.

“Maybe we took South Africa for granted and we paid dearly for this,” said the coach, who was only reinstated to his post last month after being sacked by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

The NFF said in a statement that they would shoulder the blame but believed the country would bounce back from the setback.

“The NFF takes full responsibility for what has happened,” said the body’s president, Amaju Pinnick. “It is a tragedy for us to come so near and yet fail to reach the finals.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“We made so much effort and sacrifice in Congo to achieve the victory we needed there on Saturday and really had no business bungling it here.

“This is a disappointment but for us, we gave it our best shot and supported the team fully. This is a dark moment but we will emerge into sunshine shortly.”

Former Nigeria skipper Segun Odegbami said he was shocked and that South Africa, who had a poor head-to-head record against Nigeria, must now be taken a lot more seriously.

“We have always taken South Africa for granted, believing we can have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but they have now shown us that this is an end of era,” he said.

Abuja-based sports journalist Michael Obasi said the failure to qualify was a sign that there needed to be changes made in the Super Eagles.

“The players let a whole country down in front of their fans, just as was the case in 2011 when we also failed to qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup,” he said.

“We should now do away with this generation of players. We need hungrier and more committed players to represent Nigeria.

“Keshi should also bow out of the national team. His best was not good enough.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Click to comment
Advertisement

More on Capital Sports

Football

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – There is light at the end of the tunnel. After failed promises over the last three years since its...

Athletics

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 8 – Olympic Champion Caster Semenya and wife Violet Raseboya have hinted that they might be expecting a baby in a...

Features

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – The Kakamega High School ‘Green Commandos’ have produced a plethora of talent over the past decades in Kenyan football...

NFL

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 13 – Kenya’s history making Daniel Adongo, the first Kenyan to play in America’s National Football League (NFL), is now living...

© 2020 Capital Digital Media. Capital Group Limited. All Rights Reserved