Coach Sunday Oliseh said that losing 1-0 to Guinea in yesterday’s last group C match of the Africa Nations Championship, was something he and his team did not envisage.
He regretted the loss coming after the Super Eagles have chalked up four points from their two previous matches and only needed a draw against Guinea to advance to the quarter-final.
“We apologise to Nigerians for this loss, we never planned to exit the tournament this early. The boys gave their best,” said a sober Oliseh after the game.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation also expressed regrets over the Super Eagles shock exit.
NFF president, Amaju Pinnick reiterated that the African Nations Championship is “both developmental and preparatory for bigger challenges,” and said without mincing words that the Federation would now shift focus to the qualification race for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
“We apologise to Nigerians for the poor outing of the Super Eagles in Rwanda, but we toe the line of CAF which states that CHAN is a developmental and preparatory competition. Of course, as Nigerians, we love to win always, and we feel bad when we don’t.
“I want us to take the positives from this tournament. A player like Chisom Chikatara broke onto the global platform and players like Usman Mohammed, Chima Akas, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, Austin Oboroakpo and Ifeanyi Mathew confirmed their class.
“For me, it is disappointing that we did not progress. But the NFF will now focus on the 2017 AFCON qualifiers, and start preparations early for the remaining rounds,” Pinnick said.