Abuja - Some football fans on Sunday in Abuja urged the Super Eagles to remain focused in spite of losing to Mali in their opening game of the 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mali stunned Nigeria 2-1 in the second game of Group A played at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.
A cross-section of fans who spoke to NAN expressed disappointment at the result of the match and advised the team on the need to stay focused.
Audu Obaje, a businessman, however noted that the Super Eagles did not play as a team.
“There was no cohesion at all in the team I saw. They cannot afford to play their next game like this if they intend to go far in the tournament.”
“I therefore urge the boys to calm down and not allow themselves to be carried away by the euphoria that they are the African champions, because this is a different competition,” he said.
Osborn Rowland, an entertainer, said that the team lost because the boys did not play according to the coach's instructions.
“They were playing an entirely different game from what Stephen Keshi instructed them to play.”
“From Keshi and Daniel Amokachi's body language, one could read the situation. The team was so distracted and disjointed from the defence to the attack.”
“These are not the Super Eagles we know. There is a need for them to go back to the drawing board and get things right in their next two group games,” Rowland said.
Chinedu Ezirim, a banker, said the Super Eagles players took their opponents for granted.
“The Super Eagles cannot afford to look down on any team again, because every team at the tournament is there to win.”
“In fact, most of the teams are looking forward to beating the Super Eagles and make a name for themselves.”
“Therefore, the team must be more serious with their remaining games and approach them as a do-or-die affair,” Ezirim said.
Henry Medekong, a medical practitioner, told NAN that even though the team had been together only for a little time, it was still not an excuse.
“The team must put in all its efforts, with the aim of lifting the CHAN trophy.”
“They must work very hard if they are to take something out of the tournament and, most importantly, they must remain disciplined,” he said.
Segun Adekeye, a lawyer, noted that even though the Eagles had the potentials and qualities to win the game, the Malians played a better game.
“In all fairness, it would have been cruel for Mali to lose or draw the match as they looked by far the more polished side and had more verve when going for an attack.”
“However, I strongly believe that we have the qualities to win CHAN and with God on our side we will do it,” he said.
NAN reports that Nigeria is currently placed third with no points and a goal difference of -1 in Group A behind Mali and South Africa, both with three points each.
Mozambique occupy the last position after they were defeated 3-1 by South Africa in an earlier match.
Nigeria will face Mozambique on January 15.