The chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation Technical and Development Committee, Chris Green, is confident that the Super Eagles will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations championships, despite Saturday’s humiliating AFCON qualifier defeat by South Africa in Uyo.
The Super Eagles put up a shocking performance as they lost 2-0 to Bafana Bafana on Matchday 1 of the Cameroon 2019 qualifiers, leaving Nigeria third in Group E, following Libya’s 5-1 defeat of Seychelles on Friday.
“It was not the result we worked or prayed for, but the truth is we have only lost one of six matches in the series, and this wake-up call has come at the right time,” Green, a member of the NFF executive committee, said in an NFF release on Sunday night.
“It has also come when we still have the opportunity to rectify things and prepare harder for the remaining matches of the FIFA World Cup qualifying race.
“Losing to South Africa was never in our calculation, but it has happened. Someone once said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Now, everyone, including the technical crew and the players, know that we must work harder than we ever done, dig deeper than we have ever done and show the kind of commitment greater than we have ever shown in the two qualifying campaigns.”
Two second half goals by Tokelo Rantie and Percy Tau condemned Nigeria to a first-ever defeat by South Africa in a competitive game at senior level, but Green insisted the lessons have been learnt.
“There are so many things to take forward from this game. One of them is that this type of reverse must never happen to the Super Eagles again,” he added.
“But now, we have to focus squarely on the FIFA World Cup qualifiers because the race to the Cup of Nations will only resume in nine months’ time. In two-and-half months, we have classical World Cup battles with Cameroon. That is the only issue on our minds at the moment.”
Meanwhile, a meeting of the NFF Technical and Development Committee will take place at the NFF Secretariat, Abuja on Tuesday morning, with Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, in attendance. Green said the issue of the battles with Cameroon in September is top of the agenda.