Former Nigerian internationals, Mutiu Adepoju and Victor Ikpeba are optimistic that the Super Eagles could still have a good outing at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt despite their 1-0 defeat to Senegal on Sunday.
Idrissa Gueye sealed the win for the Lions of Teranga in the 20th minute after profiting from a defensive mix up in the Super Eagles’ penalty area.
The defeat has drawn reaction from football fans across Nigeria, as they claimed that Gernot Rohr’s men are off-guard for the biennial African football showpiece, a few days after playing out 0-0 draw with Zimbabwe in Asaba.
However, the former internationals – who were part of the triumphant Super Eagles at the 1994 AFCON claimed that there is nothing to worry about, adding that the players should decide to pick out the positives against Aliou Cisse’s men instead.
“It will be unfair if we judge the team by the outcome of this encounter because this is a process of preparation and the players are trying to be careful not to get injured,” Adepoju told Goal.
“Senega consists of a very strong team and I’m very sure that the game would have opened the eyes of the technical crew on where the Super Eagles need improvement”.
“Another good thing is that we now know how the Senegalese play because it’s likely we might face them during the tournament.”
This sentiment was echoed by Ikpeba, who was named 1997 African Player of the Year.
“The result doesn’t matter,” he said.
“It is an opportunity for the manager to see everybody play and access his team.
“Remember this is a build up to the Nations Cup and sometimes will not like to get injured. In this kind of game, it is very difficult to see the players give their 200%.
Nigeria is expected to will begin their campaign against AFCON debutants Burundi on June 22 at the Alexandria Stadium, before facing Guinea and Madagascar in other Group B clashes.
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