By James Agberebi:
Former Nigeria international, Garba Lawal, has attributed the Super Eagles ouster from next year's Africa Cup of Nations to the inability of the players to go the extra mile in crucial games, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Nigeria's chances of making it to the 2017 AFCON was finally extinguished after they lost 1-0 to Egypt in Alexandria on Tuesday.
The win gave Egypt five unassailable points lead over the Eagles who have just two points.
In a chat with Completesportsnigeria.com, Lawal posited that the failure of the players to lift their games when expected, cost the team.
"It is all about sacrifice. I remember the goal Victor Ikpeba scored against Egypt in Cairo during the qualifiers for the 1996 Olympic Games. I don't know how he managed to score that brilliant goal," Lawal told Completesportsnigeria.com.
"And that is what you should expect from players, that extra quality in crucial games. As a player you have to lift yourself collectively and individually."
The four-time AFCON player, rued the thought of Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho not having the opportunity to showcase their talent at Africa's biggest showpiece.
"We all saw the jubilation of the Egyptians, it shows the importance of going to a big tournament and you will agree with me that the Africa Cup of Nations is the biggest in Africa.
"It is a competition every player would want to add to his CV. I pity the young players like Iheanacho and Iwobi. That is why players have to do extra.
He added: "As a player, there is a stage you will get to in football, you have to show extra quality and commitment. You have to show that you are hungry and you want to win.
"In the past, we used to see Nigerian players with injury but still giving their all. So this is the kind of thing we want to see, but we don't see it these days.
"That is why our fans keep on asking what was it that we did during our days that produced results. And I keep asking myself, "is it that they don't want to keep legacies for themselves"?