Nigeria’s Super Eagles lost to Guinea’s Syli Nationale by a lone goal on Tuesday to crash out of the 2016 African Nations Championship (Chan) in Rwanda.
Guinea needed an outright victory to stand any chance of further progress to the knockout stages and they showed intent from the blast of the whistle.
The Eagles were made to sweat for a single shot at goal in the first 20 minutes of the game.
With the momentum behind them, Ibrahima Sankhon slotted in the goal on the stroke of half time after exchanges between Alseny Camara and Moussa Diawara opened up the Nigerian defence.
Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh had made changes to his starting line-up as tournament top scorer, Chisom Chikatara, an injury doubt before kick-off, was dropped and Sunshine Stars attacker, Tunde Adeniji started in place of the Abia Warriors man.
The Sunshine Stars striker returned to the starting line-up with Jamiu Alimi after a disastrous showing against Niger while midfielder Usman Mohammed, got his second start along with Austin Obaroakpo in the heart of the defence.
Chikatara was, however, introduced in the second half to salvage the game for the Nigerians but the Guineans held on for a famous win.
Nigeria finished third in the 2014 edition of the championship.
The Minister for Youth and Sports, Mr Solomon Dalung, will lead NFF President Amaju Pinnick and other football officials to support the Super Eagles when Nigeria confront Niger Republic in their opening game at the ongoing African Nations Championship in Rwanda.
Others that will be part of the delegation are Vice Presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko and the Chairman of the Technical and Development Committee, Chris Green.
The ‘Super Eagles B’ clash with the Mena is one of the opening matches of Group C, will be played on Monday at the Stade Regional Nyamirambo, from 5:00pm Nigeria time.
The Nigerian delegation arrived in Kigali on Sunday and had dinner with the players and officials of the Super Eagles at the Hills View Hotel, where Sports Minister Dalung delivered the message of President Muhammadu Buhari to the group.
“I want to assure you that the government and people of Nigeria are with you as you start this campaign for honours. President Buhari has mandated me to tell you that you should confront all challenges with courage and confidence because he is with you in spirit.
“You have shown excellent patriotic spirit and we are proud of you. Go to battle with the mind to conquer.”
The Eagles perfected strategies for the three-week championship at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, South Africa, where they spent two weeks, and will start as tournament favourites being the top-ranked team from the last competition present in Rwanda.
Nigeria won bronze in South Africa in 2014, but champions Libya and runners-up Ghana both failed to qualify for Rwanda.
This is the fourth edition of the championship and it kicked off on Saturday with host nation, Rwanda, beating Cote d’Ivoire 1-0.
The Minister for Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, has urged the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to pay various national teams their outstanding remunerations before Christmas.
Dalung gave the charge on Thursday at the 71st General Assembly of the NFF in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
He asked the Nigerian football governing body to pay all outstanding allowances and bonuses being owed the players and their officials.
According to the Minister, “An angel said to the three wise men behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy. This is Christmas season. Bring glad tidings to the players. Pay them all outstanding bonuses and allowances before Christmas.”