NIGERIAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION SAYS WORLD CUP 2018 IS THE NEW FOCUS
After failing to qualify yet again for the African nation Cup in 2017, Nigeria men’s national football team has apologized to the nation through a written statement from the Football Federation.
The Super Eagles fell to a 1-0 defeat in Alexandria, Egypt in the second leg match after playing a 1-1 draw in Kaduna, Nigeria. The match played on Tuesday, 29th March 2016 was won by the hosts with a strike in the second half. The strike was poorly defended and resulted in the lone goal of the game.
The woes of the team were compounded when one of the group members withdrew from the tournament and Confederation of African Football (CAF) cancelled all points from matches against them.
The statement from the NFF reads: “The NFF, like most Nigerians, are saddened by The Super Eagles’ failure to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final competition, following a 1-0 defeat by seven–time African champions Egypt in Alexandria.”
The Super Eagles lost the golden opportunity to qualify through their sloppiness as Egypt equalized, after a goal from Etebo put the host in the lead. After the draw, the confidence The Super Eagles displayed against The Pharaohs in Alexandria was below par, especially when compared to the decent performance in Nigeria.
The NFF acknowledged this in their statement when they said: “We see this failure to qualify as an unfortunate turn of events, because it came despite the undoubted efforts of the Coaching crew led by Coach Samson Siasia and the players led by the captain, Mikel Obi, and the efforts of the NFF leadership who not only supported the technical crew but also provided necessary support regarding comfortable traveling arrangement and accommodation for the team’s home and away matches.”
The NFF promised to focus on the world Cup 2018 qualification. “In the next one week, the Technical and Development Committee will meet to make recommendations to the NFF Board on the way forward for The Super Eagles, but already, we can disclose that the NFF has now fully shifted its focus to activating its already prepared plan to give the team all the support it needs to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.”