Wednesday, March 30, 2016 11:42 am
By Taiwo Adelu
Like the popular saying that “failure is an orphan”, Nigeria’s Super Eagles returned from Cairo, Egypt early on Wednesday with no fanfare that usually accompanied their arrival from any international competition.
The Eagles disappointed Nigerians for failing to make their ways to Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. They were stopped in the race by the Pharaohs of Egypt in the two legged qualifiers, the first leg which they drew 1-1 in Kaduna on Friday and lost 0-1 in Alexandria, Cairo Tuesday night. The darling teams of the most populous black nation are currently with 2 points on the table trailing Egypt who have 7 points with a match to go.
At the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja, nobody was on ground to welcome the country’s ambassadors. They sneaked in like orphans who have no parents or siblings-a great price to pay when the Eagles failed the nation.
Alex Iwobi had to hurriedly connect London with the flight already booked by his North London club, Arsenal immediately they arrived in Abuja. Some of the players could not grant press interview as they wore long faces.
But Russia-based Moses Simon summoned courage to talk to a reporter of Brila FM who was at the airport to witness their arrival. Simon said the outcome of the race to Gabon was how God wanted it to be, which the players could not do anything about it. He, however, expressed his disappointment for not playing in the match in Alexandria, he said: “If I were to play in the match, there’s no way I won’t score a goal.”
The player said there is nothing he is going to do now than to set off to his base in Russia.
Meanwhile, former coach of the Eagles, Austin Eguavoen said he was impressed with the performance of the team in the two matches against Egypt, adding that failure to qualify for the Nations Cup was due to ill luck.
“The draw in Kaduna was so bad, but the team worked very hard,” he said.
Ex international Jonathan Akpoborie blamed Coach Samson Siasia for taking up the job in the first place. He said Siasia supposed to have seen the handwritting on the wall that it would be so hard for Nigeria to scale the hurdles.
“This is not about patrotism, Siasia should have rejected the offer. He supposed to have concentrated on his Olympic team,” he said.
Akpoborie disclosed that the current Eagles squad are better than Sunday Oliseh’s team, but called on Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, to look out for a good foreign coach now.
Former African Woman Footballer of the year award winner, Asisat Oshoala, who plays for Arsenal Ladies in London made reference to the Biblical story of Pharaohs and Moses. Though in the Bible, Moses was able to conquer Pharaohs, but Oshoala said on her Facebook page that “These Pharaohs did not allow Moses to go this time oooo ????”