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Africa Cup of Nations

Don't judge Super Eagles on Senegal defeat, insists Victor Ikpeba and Mutiu Adepoju

18:51 GMT+4 17/06/2019
Super Eagles, Nigeria
Gernot Rohr’s men bowed to the Lions of Teranga in Sunday’s friendly, and the ex-internationals have assured that there is no cause for alarm
Nigeria football greats Mutiu Adepoju and Victor Ikpeba think the Super Eagles can still have a good Africa Cup of Nations despite their 1-0 defeat to Senegal on Sunday.

Idrissa Gueye sealed the win for the Lions of Teranga in the 20th minute after profiting from a defensive mix up in the Super Eagles’ penalty area.

The defeat has drawn reaction from football fans across Nigeria, as they claim Gernot Rohr’s men are off-guard for the biennial African football showpiece, a few days after playing a out 0-0 draw with Zimbabwe in Asaba.

However, the former internationals - who were part of the triumphant Super Eagles at the 1994 Afcon - claim there is nothing to worry about, deciding to pick out the positives against Aliou Cisse’s men instead.

 “It will be unfair if we judge the team by the outcome of this encounter because this is a process of preparation and the players are trying to be careful not to get injured,” Adepoju told Goal.

“Senegal are a very strong team and I’m very sure that the game would have opened the eyes of the technical crew on where the Super Eagles need improvement.

“Another good thing is that we now know how the Senegalese play because it’s likely we face them during the course of the tournament.”

This sentiment was echoed by Ikpeba, who was named 1997 African Player of the Year.

“The result doesn’t matter,” he said.

“It is an opportunity for the manager to see everybody play and access his team.

“Remember this is a build up to the Nations Cup and sometimes will not like to get injured. In this kind of game, it is very difficult to see the players give their 200%.

Nigeria begin their campaign against Afcon debutants Burundi on June 22 at the Alexandria Stadium, before facing Guinea and Madagascar in other Group B clashes.