CHAN 2020: Takeaways from Home-Based Eagles failure


The home based Super Eagles defeated Togo 2-0 on Saturday at the Agege
Stadium, Lagos but ultimately failed to qualify for the 2020 African
Nations Championship in Cameroon losing out 4-3 on aggregate.
Izuchukwu Okosi here looks at the four takeaways from the
disappointing outcome of the two legged fixtures.
Sikiru Alimi audition for Super Eagles A team?: Sikiru Alimi scored a
brace which secured the 2-0 win for the Eagles and was unlucky to have
an effort cleared off the goal line. Had that gone in and it finished
3-0, Nigeria and not Togo will be celebrating qualification to the
2020 CHAN.
Alimi’s overall performance aside the goal was promising as he was all
over the Togolese defenders.
That beggars the question if the striker has proven his mettle as the
outfield home based players have been unable to get permanent slots in
the ‘Super Eagles A team’.
The league played a part: The 2019/2020 season of the Nigeria
Professional Football League has not kicked off and apparently played
a huge role in the failure of the home based Super Eagles.
That also affected the performances and results of Enyimba and Enugu
Rangers in the CAF continental club competitions.
The home based Eagles had only few days to train and definitely not
sufficient to overhaul a 4-1 deficit. If the Eagles had just a goal
disadvantage to worry about, that might have been a minor issue to
deal with.
Eagles must improve on the roads: A Nigerian national team losing 4-1
to any side in Africa is scandalous so it was hard to take a defeat to
Togo despite playing away.
Most Nigerian sides (club or national team) are bad travellers and
that is something that must improve.
Logistics and early trips to the host countries by an advanced party
could do a trick. It gives an insight what the local media, fans and
the host team are saying or doing ahead if the match.
Amapakabo must not take U-23 Eagles to AFCON: Imama Amapakabo was
lucky to prosecute the fixtures against Libya in the last round of
qualifiers to the CAF U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in March when the
Super Eagles were in town for their friendly against Egypt and the
2019 AFCON qualifier with Seychelles at the Stephen Keshi Stadium,
That meant the Eagles players within the age limit of 23 were eligible
to play against Libya which helped the Nigerian side to overcome a 2-0
first leg defeat and reach the AFCON after a 4-0 win.
At the U-23 AFCON in Egypt next month, November, Amapakabo will not
have the luxury of the quality of players available in March. Some of
the players that disappointed on Saturday against Togo will still be
in his disposal plus others who are not match fit.
If there will be any foreign based player in the U-23 squad it could
turn out to be players not in the plans of their coaches.

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