AFCON Finals : Rufai, Banjo blame lack of tactical discipline for Eagles’ loss to Cote d’Ivoire

Some football stakeholders have blamed lack of tactical discipline as the major reason why the Super Eagles lost Sunday’s AFCON finals to Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire.

Host country, Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday night came from behind to best Nigeria 2-1 to be crowned the champion of the 34th edition of AFCON finals.
Before the match, the Super Eagles look set to repeat their 1-0 victory over the Elephants in the Group stage of the competition but met a more organised Ivorian team in the finals who won the title for the third time having won it earlier in 1992 and 2015.

The Eagles took the lead in the first half through a towering header from William Troost-Ekong but the Ivorians equalized through a header by Franck Kessie who found himself free on the far side of the post.

However, it was Sebastien Haller who spoiled the fun for Nigeria as he scored the second goal by stabbing home a cross from Simon Adingra nine minutes to full time.

The victory was an incredible achievement for a team that qualified to the knockout stage as one of the best losers but after the sacking of their Coach, Jean- Loius Gasset and replaced by Emerse Fae as interim coach, the team rediscovered it’s redeem posting not only good results that landed them in the finals but emerged winners of the tournament.

Speaking on phone to, former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Peter Rufai while commending the team for a job well done blamed the players for being wasteful in front of goal.

” The Super Eagles did very well but were wasteful in front of goal which gave advantage to the Ivorians. I had expected them to be more purposeful in their opponents goal area which would have given them victory”, he stressed.

Rufai while acknowledging that it’s not always easy playing the host nation in any major tournament was optimistic that if the right approach was applied to the game, Nigerians would have been singing victory song by now.

Speaking in the same vein, National Deaf Coach, Kamuldeen Banjo noted that the game was lost in the midfield which allowed the Ivorians to constantly torment Nigeria’s goal area which resulted in their two goals.

” It’s unfortunate that we lost the game when everybody was already planning victory dance. I think the game was lost in the midfield because immediately after the break, the Ivorians took over the midfield like wounded Lions and did not give Osimhen any breathing space to operate which did the magic for them.

” Also one should not forget that the close to 60,000 Ivorian fans at the Stadium helped in motivating the host nation to action but I must give kudos to the Super Eagles for putting up a good fight from the beginning of the championship to the end.

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