Okpala Blames Ref, Keshi Salutes Impressive Lawal
Posted: May 25, 2012
Eagles assistant coach, Sylvanus Okpala has voiced his opinion about the refereeing in Nigeria's 1-0 loss to host, Peru yesterday's international friendly at the Estadio Nacional del Peru, Lima.
Okpala, who earned 45 caps and scored five times for the Nigerian national team between 1979 and 1988 did not exactly have kind words for referee Jose Espinel.
Espinel booked three Nigerians, Ejike Uzoenyi, Azubuike Egwuekwe and Gege Soriola in the game and has been accused by Okpala of ‘intimidating the Super Eagles.’
“It was obvious that the referee was trying to intimidate the Super Eagles in the manner he was booking our boys. We suffered a similar fate during our last friendly match against Egypt.
“But our boys have done well against a top side that did well at the last Copa America. The competition (against Peru) was much higher than the Egypt game but our boys did well,” he said.
Meanwhile Super Eagles' coach, Stephen Keshi was full of praise for Atletico Baleares star, Raheem Lawal who came in as a substitute in yesterday's game.
“Raheem did well but so also did most of the boys,” Keshi told SuperSport.com after the game.
The former national team captain also urged the players to stay upbeat about the upcoming qualifying matches.
“I told the boys to relax because it is only a friendly match and that the result would not necessarily determine who makes the squad for the upcoming World and Nations Cup qualifying matches,” he said.
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