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African Nations Championship

'It’s a big setback' – Akinwunmi saddened by Nigeria’s 2020 Chan miss

2:11 AM GMT+8 21/10/2019
Nigeria B
Despite putting up an impressive display at the Agege Stadium, the Nigerian football chief feels that the Super Eagles messed up their qualification

Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) first vice-president Seyi Akinwunmi had high hopes going into the Super Eagles’ clash with Togo, but is "extremely disappointed" after they failed to qualify for 2020 African Nations Championship.

Sikiru Alimi’s brace sealed a 2-0 second-leg victory at the Agege Stadium, but it counted for nothing as the country’s flag won’t be hoisted in Cameroon after a 4-3 aggregate defeat.

Akinwunmi was impressed by the team's showing on Saturday but was irked by the first leg defeat to the Sparrow Hawks at the Stade de Kegue, Lome.

“Extremely disappointed, extremely disappointed, I think that we lost this tie in Togo. I wasn’t there, but I don’t know how they beat us with this team,” he told Goal.

“But having said that, I watched this match and I’m convinced that we should have beaten this Togo team at least 5-0. I don’t know how to criticise, but I’m extremely disappointed.

“It’s a big setback – a generational glut, although I saw one or two players [during the game] who I think would graduate into the Super Eagles anyway, but it’s a generational glut and it’s extremely upsetting.

"There are so many things that climax with this kind of thing, a lot of preparations we couldn’t do – but let’s not go into excuses. We’ve lost, we [the NFF] take responsibility but we are extremely disappointed.”

When quizzed about the future of the team and its technical crew after a failed bid to qualify for Cameroon 2020, the seasoned football administrator, who is a member of Caf’s Committee for Youth Competitions, is not keen on making a hurried conclusion.

“When you interview somebody immediately after a loss, he may say things that he shouldn’t. He may say things out of anger, out of being very upset and I’m not that kind of person,” Akinwunmi continued.

“I would like to hold my view, and like the technical committee to brief us and we take it from there, otherwise, I would say things that I shouldn’t say. These things happen but it’s unfortunate.”

Togo will be making their maiden appearance in Chan finals next year, while Nigeria are missing the tournament for the third time after missing Cote d’Ivoire 2009 and Sudan 2011.