The Nigeria coach says it was a great experience for his boys as they qualified for their first CHAN while the Ivorian coach says the Eagles were superior over two legs
Nigeria’s 2-0 loss to the Elephants of Cote D’Ivoire in the final leg of the final round of the African Nations Champioship (CHAN) qualifier has been described as a good experience for the national team by head coach, Stephen Okechukwu Keshi.
Nigeria qualified 4-3 on aggregate after winning the first leg 4-1 in Kaduna.
In a post match press conference, Keshi said: “We thank God we qualified at the end of the day but my boys did not pick up till the second half and I must say to you that I am happy and this is a great experience for a young side like the home based side.”
The coach admitted that his players were jittery at the start of the match which led to them conceding two quick goals in the first half but they woke up and gave a good account of themselves in the second.
“If you say it was a game of two halves I may tend to agree with you. Because we started poorly largely due to experience and then when we came into the game they struggled against us, but that is football, we are just grateful to the NFF, Nigerians and God that we made it for the first time to the CHAN tournament.”
Ivorian coach, Saraka Norbert, who also spoke at the post match conference admitted that the Nigerian side were slightly more experienced than his side, even as he refused to blame the two red cards the team received in the first leg in Kaduna for his side’s ouster.
“Nigeria is a great country economically, socially and even in football and we must admit that when we get to their heights in the near future, Ivorian football will be great again,” he said.
Norbert again reiterated his love for the Nigerian handler, whom he described as an Ivorian and wished him well in his future endeavours.
The Nigerian team is scheduled to depart Abidjan on Sunday morning and will come through Lome, the Togolese capital. The team is expected to arrive Nigeria at about 4:00pm Nigerian time and is expected to disperse immediately from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, accordingm to team administrator, Dayo Enebi Achor.
The next big assignment for the Super Eagles will be the Nelson Mandela Challenge contest against the Bafana Bafana of South Africa in Durban in August.