AFCON 2023: Ex-internationals knock Super Eagles over draw with Equatorial Guinea

Super Eagles AFCON 2023

Some ex-internationals have criticised the Super Eagles over their performance in their opening Group A match at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) at Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Ebimpe, Abidjan on Sunday.

The ex-internationals spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos in reaction to the 1-1 draw played by the Super Eagles against Equatorial Guinea.

Olympics gold medalist Mobi Oparaku described the performance of the Eagles as below par.

“I don’t want to say the players are bad or good, but I want to condemn their actions as they played against Equatorial Guinea.

“Our players lack bite; we did not play Equatorial Guinea the way they played us; this country is an underdog in African football. The Eagles lacked possession.

“When the Eagles were in possession, they lacked options, but when their opponents were in possession, they had many options. When the Guineans were with the ball, they played with precision.

“We did not play well against them at all. I have said Nigeria has players but not a team,” he said.

Oparaku, also a former Super Eagles right back, said striker Victor Osimhen could have done better in handling the ball with clear chances to score but he failed to.

“Osimhen needs to brace up, he can’t be missing such chances in games like this.

“The goal against Nigeria was not good at all. Imagine three defenders blocking the goalkeeper’s view.

“I am angry with the way the team played,” he said.

Another ex-international and AFCON 2013 winner Benedict Akwuegbu who spoke from his base in the UK said poor tactics led to the senior national team’s lackluster performance.

“We played poorly, the coach, Jose Peseiro, played wrong tactics and that was the reason we couldn’t win the match.

“How can Peseiro play with lone striker in this type of match, this is our first match and we need two strikers upfront.

“Our midfielders should have held on to the ball a bit, while Peseiro should have deployed Moses Simon on the right and Samuel Chukwueze on the left to feed Osimhen.

“We should have played more attacking football and put the Guineans under pressure, we need not defend against a country that is not so good,” he said.

Akwuegbu claimed that Nigeria did not play against a big country, so the tactical approach should have been to attack and not defend.

“We should have put pressure on the Guineans and not allow them play and build confidence. If we attack well, Osimhen can score three goals,” he said.

For AFCON 1994 winning Edema Fuludu, Peseiro should take the blame.

“I have said that we lack a good coach, we don’t deserve someone like Peseiro,” he said.