The home-based Super Eagles of Nigeria were on Sunday white-washed 4-nil by the Atlas Lions of Morocco in the final of 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) hosted by Morocco. PAUL OKAH speaks to a cross section of football-loving Nigerians on why the Coach Salisu Yusuf-led Super Eagles Team B lost the historic match.
We should strengthen our leagues
It is very pathetic that Nigeria does not seem to get it right anytime we’re about to make history. I felt bad watching the lackluster performance of the CHAN Eagles against Morocco and I wonder how they even made it to the finals in the first place. It’s very pathetic to lose 4-nil in the final of a match, but the loss can be attributed to three factors and I will profer solutions to them. One, the boys were match rusty. Many of them had not played for a very long time and were consequently overwhelmed by their inclusion. They should feature regularly in their different clubs. Two, our local leagues lack support. Our officials prefer to sponsor only the national teams, to the detriment of local leagues. The Moroccans were better than us in all departments of the game because they have a good league. So, the Nigeria government should pull all the stops to make sure our local leagues are promoted and well equipped to compete in international competitions. Former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzo Kalu, supported Enyimba of Aba and they went ahead to win competitions all over Africa. He should be emulated. Three, the Nigerian fans only support foreign clubs or leagues and neglect our local leagues. During the match, the Moroccan fans were everywhere and their reactions were so electric that the players were spurred on. Our players were fazed because they have never played before such a crowd. So our fans should come out to the stadium on weekends to watch our local players in order to boost their psychology and morale so that they won’t be intimidated by any crowd in the future.
Iheanyi Obasi, a Redeemed pastor.
It’s a terrible anticlimax
I watched all the CHAN Eagles matches and was greatly impressed by their performances. However, the loss to Morocco is an anticlimax. How can you lose 4:0 at the final? It’s unheard of for a Nigerian team that was sometimes coming behind to win matches, like we did against Equatorial Guinea. The referee was somehow partial in his officiating by awarding a red card against Nigeria, thereby giving the Moroccans the advantage, but that’s not an excuse to lose 4-nil in a final competition.
Musa Yahaya, a drycleaner
The coach contributed to our loss
I watched the match from the beginning to the end and our performance was very poor. We only made one attempt at goal for the duration of the first half. Then in the second half, I was expecting an equalizer and early substitution for a team that needed to win, but none came. In fact, the coach contributed to our loss. He should have substituted a striker for a defender or a defensive midfielder, but he brought in another striker and left the impressive Ajiboye to pick the ball out of his net. We didn’t just play, that’s the simple truth. A red card is not an excuse for that epic disgrace.
Obinna Inya, a carpenter
We don’t have any excuse to lose
The Eagles tried their best to get to the final of the competition. Since the inception of the biennial tournament, this is the first time of our getting to the final. We came third in 2014, so maybe, we will win it next time. Though all the players are blaming the referee for bad officiating, especially the red card to our defender for a poor tackle, but I see no reason why we should blame him for our loss. He was fair in his officiating and the CHAN Eagles would have won if they persevered. We lost it when the players allowed the first half goal to demoralize them and the goalkeeper was obviously disappointed to pick the ball out of his net for four good times until the Moroccans got tired of scoring.
Anita Nnamdi, student
We would have won on penalties
My dear, don’t remind me about the match, please. I was so disappointed that I could not pick my calls the following day. I so rooted for the CHAN Eagles that I made a lot of noise on facebook about their winning the tournament for us. You can then imagine the disaster. With the goalkeeper being exposed by his defenders, it was only a matter of time for them to concede that number of goals. There was simply no attempt at goal or an effort to show that we wanted to equalize or probably win the match. I know that we would have won the match if the game ended in penalties because our goalkeeper is impressive. I watched ‘’Ajiboy’’ in 2009 when he saved four penalties against a Nigerian opponent, so he should not be blamed for the loss to Morocco.
Rosemary Mbe, graduate.
I was frustrated
I have not been following the matches, but I was dragged by a friend to watch the final and I was greatly disappointed when the Moroccans scored the first goal and the CHAN Eagles became demoralized, instead of seeking for an answer. The players were shambolic. The defenders were a disaster and the coaching crew should be totally overhauled. In the game of football, when there is a numerical disadvantage, the coach will prove his onions by making tactical changes that will not expose his team. But the reverse was the case with Salisu Yusuf who further disappointed Nigerians by not understanding the game and probably thought that introducing a striker will cow the Moroccans, instead of a defender to shield the exposed goalkeeper.
Needless to say that I left after the third goal. You don’t come this far in a competition to lose in such a manner to the host.
Farouk Ibitoye, trader