Nigeria B team lost 4-1 to Ghana in the Wafu Cup of Nations final, but the ex-international Henry Makinwa insists coach Salisu Yusuf was not to blame.
The Super Eagles B were favourites reaching the final of the regional tournament after group stage win over the hosts without conceding a goal in five consecutive games.
Their hopes of claiming the coveted diadem crashed as the Black Stars thrashed them to retain the title at the Cape Coast Stadium on Sunday.
And the ABS coach, who defended the Super Eagles B gaffer over his squad, blamed ill-preparation and lack of time for the shocking defeat to their arch-rivals Ghana.
"It was a disappointing result we had in the final against Ghana. I think the boys played well from the group stage but losing 4-1 in the final is just football for you," Makinwa told Goal .
"It was an unexpected and shocking result to all because if they played all through the various stages of the tournament without conceding a goal , losing in the final means something strange must have happened.
"Taking the right players or not to the tournament depends on the philosophy of the coaches and the management. They decide the best players to choose for the tournament.
“We all have different ideas as managers. For me, the players were good but may not be good enough for another coach. If we have another coach, he may have taken the same set of players."
“Everyone will always share their different opinions which is part of the game. But if we had won the tournament, everyone would have clapped for [coach Yusuf].
“It is not the fault of the coach. I think there was not enough time to bring the players together early enough from their various clubs was bit difficult. Some of the teams were fighting to win the league while others were pushing to survive.
“He only had few days to the commencement of the competition and those days were not enough to blend them together. It is difficult blending the ideas of almost twenty coaches and getting the best of the players. The major problem is time.
Ahead of the 2018 African Nations Championship, Makinwa appeals to the Nigeria Football Federation to ensure early preparation of the team for the continental showpiece.
“I think the NFF needs to begin preparation in time for the CHAN tournament and also allow one or two weeks break during the season to allow the players and coaches bond and blend together.”