Football enthusiasts have expressed their disappointment over the Super Eagles’ 0-1 loss to the Les Fauves of Central African Republic (CAR) in a Qatar 2022 World Cup African Qualifier in Lagos, on Thursday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Super Eagles lost by a lone goal after substitute, Karl Namnganda, scored a late goal for CAR in the 90th minute of play at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.
A cross section of football stakeholders, who spoke to NAN in separate interviews, said the performance of the Eagles was simply lacklustre, and that the result was an embarrassment to the country.
Gbenga Elegbeleye, the former Director-General of the defunct National Sports Commission (NSC), wondered how a country without any football pedigree could come and defeat Nigeria on home soil.
“Very embarrassing result. How can a country without any football pedigree come here and defeat us?
“Nothing super about the lacklustre Eagles today. I hope the handlers will wake up before our next qualifier.
“Hopefully, we will learn from this defeat. It might just be the tonic we need to do better,” he said.
FCT Football Association chairman, Mouktar Mohammed, said the result was a massive upset simply unacceptable, adding, however, that he was hopeful that the Super Eagles would bounce back.
“What a massive upset! A team ranked 124th in the world coming to defeat a more experienced Super Eagles team ranked 34th and who have been to the world cup six times at our own backyard.
“This is simply unacceptable. This result has blown our group wide open and will now definitely put a lot of pressure on the team as well as Coach Gernot Rohr in our remaining group fixtures.
“Having said that there were also a lot of upsets in other matches in the qualifiers today with teams losing at home and I am hopeful that our boys will bounce back from this temporary setback,” he said.
Former Flying Eagles and Golden Eaglets coach, John Obuh, noted that the performance of the Eagles was below expectation and that the team underrated their opponents and paid dearly for it.
“It was quite a disappointing and below par performance from the Super Eagles. It was obvious and unfortunate that they underrated their opponents which cost them the game.
“The team kept on passing aerial balls which never went through and failed to change their tactics, especially in the second half.
“It was obvious that our opponents’ tactics was to sit deep in their defensive area, while exploiting avenues to hit the Eagles on counter attacks.
“However, all hope is not lost and the coach and his technical crew must now go back to the drawing board and work more on our tactical approach to ensure we defeat CAR in the return leg,” he said.
Tunde Popoola, former Secretary General, Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), noted that the Super Eagles played against a less fancied but formidable side, adding that our more experienced attackers failed to deliver when it mattered the most.
“Take nothing away from CAR, wonderful defending from a less fancied, but well drilled team, as well as a smash and grab late goal to shock Nigeria. What a result!
“When the draws were held, I told those who cared to listen that the team to be careful about in our group was CAR, but so many people doubted my prediction.
“It is indeed a shame that with all the galaxy of star players like Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheancho, Taiwo Awoniyi at our disposal, we failed to score even a goal against our opponents.
“It is up to the Super Eagles now to rise up to the challenge and ensure that they respond positively to this disappointment by handing CAR a resounding defeat in the return leg,” he said.
Bartolomew David, the Chairman, FCT Football Coaches Association, was of the view that the defeat to CAR showed that the team was deficient and inconsistent.
“It is quite unfortunate losing to a country like CAR. It only shows the level of inconsistencies in our national teams.
“However, we must put the defeat behind us and work towards winning subsequent games,” he said.
The Super Eagles would take on CAR in a return leg encounter at the Stade Japoma de Douala on Sunday.