Members of the home-based Super Eagles, who were beaten 4-0 by Morocco in the final game of the African Nations Championship, CHAN, on Sunday, February 4, 2018, have apologized to Nigerians for their embarrassing loss to the hosts.
The home based Super Eagles were disorganized by the fast-paced Moroccan team, who would have scored more than four goals if they were more clinical in the box.
Looking back on what he sees as a bad outing in Casabalanca, Osas Okoro, Enugu Rangers’ star, said the match completely went out of their control.
Okoro, who played in all the matches in Morocco, took to his twitter handle to apologise to Nigerians. He acknowledged that the entire team was bad, adding that Morocco was more prepared for the encounter.
He said, “We really wanted to win for every Nigerian out there but we are sorry about the end result.
“A lot to learn from this and we thank you for your endless support.”
Also reflecting on the game, Coach Salisu Yusuf the odds were stacked against his team, pointing at the injury-induced absences as part of the reasons for the loss. The team was without some of its key players, including Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Sunday Faleye.
“We lost today because we had to manage due to many injuries, Morocco played well,” Salisu said.
He also acknowledged that Morocco had a better game, saying, “They created chances and scored, it could have been better if we had all our players available. The game become more difficult with the red card.”
“It was a strategy to introduce Okpotu from the bench, Eneji did well. We wanted to win but Morocco got it,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Gernot Rohr, Super Eagles’ Manager, has praised the team for an outstanding performance at the championship.
Rohr, who closely followed the team’s performance from the stands as he looks to finalise his squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, refused to fault the negative outcome of the final.
“Personally, I think there were lots of positives out there, far more than what people expected from the team,” Rohr told BBC Sport in Casablanca.
“For the group, it is good for them at this level, the players can also be proud of what they have done here in Morocco.”
Nigeria finished third in 2014 and was knocked out of the last tournament in Rwanda at the group stage so Rohr believes the result in Morocco is huge progress.
“You don’t define the overall performance based with the final result, they reached this stage against all odds and deserve nothing but our praise and support,” said Rohr.
Critics had roundly criticised the team performance and most notably, coach Yusuf’s selections in the build up to the final, but Rohr wants to shift focus to the positives.
“I’ve been really impressed and see this as big progress for us,” he added.
“When everyone looks back, they will be satisfied with the exposure, results, and the incredible performance of the team.”