Following the home-based Super Eagles 4-0 defeat to hosts Morocco in the final of the 2018 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) on Sunday, Completesportsnigeria.com‘s JAMES AGBEREBI lists FIVE reasons why the team lost…
Despite his poor clinical ability, Anthony Okpotu brought bite to the home-based Super Eagles attack.
But it was a surprise when he was dropped to the bench by coach Salisu Yusuf for Peter Eneji whose only game was in that final against Morocco having missed the rest of the tournament with injury.
Okpotu was later brought on but the game had already been won and lost.
PLAYING AGAINST THE HOME CROWD
Before the final, most the Eagles’ games had been played in front of scanty crowds, except the group game against Libya.
But it was a different ball game when they faced the hosts in the final inside the 45,600 seater Mohamed V Stadium that was nearly filled to capacity.
Aside from finding ways to contain the rampaging Moroccans, the Eagles also had to deal with the noise coming from the fans.
Unfortunately, it turned out to be a disaster as they were roundly trounced.
RED CARD TO PETER ENEJI
At 0-0, the Eagles were clearly second best in the game and it was a matter of time before they conceded the first goal on the struck of half-time.
And when Peter Eneji was shown his second yellow card, it would have taken a miracle for the Eagles to get anything from the game.
Following the red card to Eneji, the Eagles completely collapsed, lost organisation, focus and shape.
LACK OF COHESIVE PLAY
Though the Eagles made it to the final, but it was obvious the team lacked proper cohesion.
The players could not string two, three, four passes together.
They relied mainly on their physicality, athleticism, ruggedness and power.
It was evident they bulldozed their way to final by overpowering their opponents but came unstuck against a sleek, well organized Moroccan side.
INJURIES TO SOME OF THE KEY PLAYERS
Injuries were a major factor why the Eagles lost scandalously to Morocco in the final.
Number one choice goalkeeper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, who had been outstanding since the commencement of the tournament, had to be stretchered off against Sudan in the semi-final.
Sunday Faleye, another player who was beginning to grow into the competition, injured his arm in the quarter-final against Angola.
Also, the decision of the coach to go for a Peter Eneji who just recovered from injury, could be blamed for their heavy loss in the final.