The fallout from Nigeria's AFCON defeat

APA-Abuja (Nigeria)

Mixed reaction heralded news of the defeat of Nigeria at the hands of Algeria in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with some Nigerians praising and others lamenting the failure of the Super Eagles to clinch a place in the final.

A last-gasp goal from Riyad  Mahrez helped Algeria defeat Nigeria 2-1 at the Cairo International Stadium on Sunday night to join Senegal in next Friday's final.

Nigeria will now play Tunisia who were earlier edged out by an extra time own-goal that saw he Teranga Lions advance to this year's final.

Algeria had beaten Senegal in their second group game of the competition two weeks ago.

Nigerian football enthusiasts in Gombe State said on Sunday that they were not disappointed over the Super Eagles' loss to a highly fancied Algerian side which began the tournament as one of the bookies favourites.

The fans said the Super Eagles surpassed all expectations by representing Nigeria well in the tournament.

One of the fans, Haruna John  said: “ I am satisfied with the outcome of the match. You can’t expect  to win every time and that’s why it’s called a game of luck.

“ I am not in any ways  disappointed neither will I blame anyone. The boys met a tough team looking at the quality of the Algerian players but the Eagles gave a good account of themselves.”

Bashiru Garba described the  team as “gallant even in defeat... and they played to the last minute and showed the Algerians that we can’t be pushed over.”

Garba said that the Eagles had proven that with time they would come out better, adding that they had improved game after game.

Another fan, Joshua Ezekiel  said he was satisfied with the performance of the team but cautioned  that it “must learn to adjust and be time conscious. Such offense that  led to the last goal  should have been avoided.”

Ezekiel however noted that the team was yet to get a good goalkeeper since the retirement of Vincent Enyeama.

In Osun state, fans  were heartbroken. 

Femi Ogundele, a fan, said Nigeria would have been hopeful if the match extended to the extra time,  but Algeria scoring a free kick in added time could be very painful.

“When a penalty was awarded in the 73rd  minute, and we equalized, it gave us hope that Nigeria can still win the  game, worse case, we will play extra time.

” But it is very devastating that it was  just few seconds to the end of the added time that Nigeria conceded a goal from Algeria.

“I am so sad right now, thank God I have  eaten dinner before the match, because I don’t know how I would be able  to eat again after what just happened, so sad.” he said

Babatunde Ganiyu, a football analyst, in his own comment said Nigeria was just unlucky, coupled with the fact that Algeria played better than the Super Eagles.

“The Super Eagle played fantastic football  but the Algerians dominated them towards the last minute and they were  lucky to get the goal.

“In the first half, Nigeria defense was not tightly coordinated, though the midfield tried their best in terms of marking but they failed to deliver good passes that could be converted  to goal by the strikers.

” Our attacking force was not tight at  all, you could imagine the Algerian goalkeeper in goal post without any  pressure throughout the first half" he said.

“It is so sad we didn’t make it to the  final of the tournament, though we had a great run , I guess a  consolation will be a third place.” he added.

Ayoola Ajayi, in his own assessment of the game said Nigeria lacked a good goalkeeper and that contributed to the loss.

I told my friend that that I was worried about Akpeyi and the last-minute conceding syndrome.

“We went to Egypt with an unstable  keeper; but the goal keeper should not only carry the blame, everybody  in the team should share in the blame, the players, the coach, the  technical, even NFF.’’

Nigerians are still expecting reaction of government and billionaires who made pledges to the players.


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