Nigeria assistant coach Kennedy Boboye is unimpressed by the team’s performances at the 2019 West Africa Football Union Cup of Nations and admitted it was a failure.
The Super Eagles did not win a game in Senegal before they were knocked out of the biennial competition after defeats to Togo and Cape Verde.
The early exit came as a disappointment for Nigeria who were finalists in the 2017 edition in Ghana.
Boboye described the country’s outing in Thies as awful and he cited various reasons for the underwhelming display.
“It was awful because we came here with the thinking of getting something in this tournament but it didn’t work out the way we planned,” Boboye told Goal.
“I think it is a learning process for us to go back and re-strategise in many aspects of the department that we failed. For me, as far as I am concerned, I think we failed in this tournament.
“The reason we find ourselves in this position was because we did not take our chances in front of goal because we missed so many chances and we conceded some stupid goals that we are not supposed to, which cost us dearly.
“The first thing is most of the players are making their first appearance in a big tournament like this. It is a different thing being in a club and being in the national team.
“You can not bring the club attitude to the national team. The tournament is once you are out, you are out. It is unlike the league where you can still play the same opponent again. I think we did not take our chances and we were wasteful in front of goal.”
A 2-1 loss to Togo in their opening fixture condemned Nigeria to the quarter-final of the plate competition.
However, they were stunned by Cape Verde who held them to a 1-1 draw at the end of regulation time and later came out victorious with a 3-2 win via the penalty shoot-out.
“Anybody that watched the game would know that Cape Verde were no match to the Nigeria team,” the former Sunshine Stars and Plateau United coach continued.
“We played better and we were in control of the game until that equaliser came in.
“Sometimes you lose grip, you cannot be on top of your feet for the whole of 90 or 120 minutes. Sometimes you make mistakes and when it happens, they punish you for it.”
Following the Super Eagles’ defeat to Togo on September 29, head coach Imama Amapakabo revealed the objective in Senegal was to build a team for the future.
The team is largely dominated by the Olympic Eagles who are preparing for the Africa U23 Cup of Nations in Egypt next month and Boboye is optimistic they will fly the country’s flag high in the years to come.
“We’ve got some quality players from this tournament that we think in the next three of four years, they will be better players in the national team. Sometimes, the biggest problem from where we come from is patience,” he said.
“We don’t have patience in building with one instant result. Most of the teams in this tournament have been together for quite some time. We just assembled these players in two or three months and where we come from, they still want magic. These players are like tomorrow’s players for the Super Eagles.”
The early exit might come as a blessing in disguise for Nigeria who now have time to prepare for the return fixture of their clash against Togo on October 18, after a 4-1 loss in Lome last month.
Boboye, a former Nigeria Professional Football League title-winning coach, revealed the tasks ahead as they look to make their fans happy again.
“We have two tasks ahead of us now. We lost to Togo in Lome and we have the return leg next week. That is a must-win game for us to take us back to Chan,” he added.
“The second one is for us to go to Egypt for the U23 Afcon and make sure we qualify for the Olympics. Those are two big tasks for us and I don’t think we will have any distraction than to go back and prepare very well.”
By: Taiye Taiwo
Photo Credit: Goal.com