Following Nigeria’s shock loss yesterday to Algeria, three reasons have been proffered why they lost.
The Super Eagles on Sunday night lost a massive opportunity to win a fourth AFCON title in a 2-1 semi-final defeat to Desert Warriors of Algeria.
The painful defeat was down to the following main reasons:
Predictable line-up: The Super Eagles went to the game without any element of surprise after the quarter-final victory over South Africa. Gernot Rohr went to the all-important with the same line-up that defeated the South Africans. The Algerians read his mind well and had everything figured out on how to stop the boys. This they did successfully. Had he fielded players such as Shehu Abdullahi and Samuel Kalu, the Algerians would have been so shocked to play.
Low confidence: It was clear the Eagles were lacking in confidence. Coming after a deserved victory over the South Africans, one expected the Eagles to take the game to the Algerians. Rather, they sat back and allowed the Desert Warriors dictate the tempo of the game. Ekong, Omeruo and goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi as well as Chidozie Awaziem obviously could have done better with psychological help. They ended up making crucial mistakes that affected the game.
Mahrez magic: The last-second free kick goal by Riyad Mahrez was simply magical. Only a top class player like him could have pulled out such a stunt. Clearly, the goal defined his participation in the African Nations Cup. It is debatable if a Nigerian player could have scored such a goal had the call gone the opposite way.