Thursday, July 18, 2019 6:56 am
The football enthusiasts spoke in the wake of Nigeria’s third-place finishing at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Egypt.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Super Eagles had defeated the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia 1-0 on Wednesday to claim the third-place trophy in Cairo.
While speaking with NAN after the match, the football enthusiasts said the team’s players were still young and have a bright future.
They however called for an improvement in the goalkeeping department.
Amobi Ezeaku, the Team Manager of Rangers International Football Club of Enugu, said third-place finish was not too bad for the Eaglea.
‘‘ The Nigerian team is made up of young players and I am happy that they still have years ahead of them. By the next AFCON, they will do better,” he said.
He noted that Samuel Chukwueze, Kenneth Omeruo and Oghenekaro Etebo were the players that impressed most.
Ezeaku said that the team was a work in progress and that inexperience contributed to their failure to reach the final.
”Let me say that this tournament is an avenue of exposure as many of them are just coming to the AFCON for the first time.
”Meanwhile, the goalkeeping department needs more competition and capable hands,” Ezeaku said.
Also speaking, Norbert Okolie, the Enugu State Chairman of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), expressed satisfaction with the team’s performance.
”This is football and at times you have to prepare for the future and not always be thinking of immediate results.
”Super Eagles pushed for the trophy, but luck ran out for them and they had to settle for the third position.
‘’But it was not a bad outing considering that the players still have years to be together and by next tournament they will mature in experience,” Okolie said.
He said that he was so impressed with all the young players in the team as they showed that they have stakes in the team.
Ignatius Okpara, the Enugu State Secretary of SWAN, advised the team’s head coach, Gernot Rohr, to look for better goalkeepers to beef up the team.
”Well, that was football for you. Where are the Camerooninan national team who were the defending champions?
”We sent them packing in the round of 16 and here we are ending our journey in third place. It was not a bad outing at all.
”I believe that this crop of players will come off better next time, be it the World Cup or the Nations Cup,” Okpara said.
Blaise Udeh, the Enugu State boxing coach, said the match against Algeria was lost through the goalkeeping department and that it needed improvement.
”It was a good outing for the Super Eagles and to show their seriousness, they did not allow their group stage loss to Madagascar to pull them down.
”Besides, they realised the need to approach each match with seriousness and if the Algeria match can be replayed, I am sure the Eagles will fly high.
“Thank God we won the third-place position, and before the next tournament, the coaches will make the team more formidable,” Udeh said.