Former Super Eagles goalkeeper, Idah Peterside, says Nigeria crashed out of the ongoing 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as a result of many irregularities.
Peterside, who spoke on Monday during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme Sunrise Daily, listed some of such irregularities to include lack of planning, failure to switch tactics, and unnecessary promises for the players, among others.
“We should have won that game,” he said in reaction to Nigeria’s defeat to Tunisia on Sunday night at the Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua, Cameroon. “We were on the better side. We didn’t do what we should have done at the beginning of the game.
“They gave us so much rest and we should have utilised that opportunity. The game was a little bit slow. Tunisia players tried to slow it down; they knew we were quicker and better. We should have gotten that first goal and things would have changed.
“Tactically, they were superior. They knew what they wanted to do. They slowed down the game and frustrated us. They knew our strength was from the left.”
The Television pundit said the Eagles coach, Augustine Eguavoen, also should have changed tactics at a point in the match and the assistant coach could have helped out, even if the coach didn’t see that.
“This is where the assistant comes in. When you watch the English Premier League, you will see the assistant coach once in a while come to whisper something to the coach. We didn’t see that happen too many times yesterday. You need to change tactics,” Peterside added.
He said the mind of the players should have been focused on the match, but they were probably distracted by some officials who went to the dressing room to promise them cash rewards.
“In our mind, we all felt this was a foregone conclusion. We were already calling ourselves champions when we had not qualified. News filtered that some officials – not football coaches – were going to the dressing room to address the players.
“There’s a psychology of football. A footballer has to think about the match 100%. This is football, don’t promise them,” Peterside stated.
Tunisia shocked the Super Eagles to set up an AFCON last-eight showdown after Youssef Msakni scored two minutes into the second half to give the previously unimpressive North Africans a second-round triumph over 10-man Nigeria.
Nigerians’ hopes of equalising were dealt a huge blow midway through the second half when Alex Iwobi, initially yellow-carded for a stamp on Msakni, was sent off after the referee checked the VAR monitor.