Coach Gernot Rohr has stated that the absences of Alex Iwobi and Wilfred Ndidi had impacted Nigeria’s game against the Central African Republic in Thursday’s 2022 Fifa World Cup qualification match.
Despite dominating ball possession against the Wild Beasts, the Super Eagles bowed 1-0 to Raoul Savoy’s men at Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Karl Namnganda's 90th-minute effort separated both teams as the three-time African kings fluffed several scoring opportunities.
While lamenting his team’s defeat despite dominating ball possession, the German tactician discloses that the non-appearance of the England based stars – who were out due to injury worries did not help matters.
“The players are still disappointed in the dressing room and still not understanding why we could lose this match,” Rohr told Goal.
“When we analyzed it, we dominated possession of the ball, we had several opportunities to score but we did not score and very often in football, there was a counter and our opponents scored.
“Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, we lost. We had the opportunity to score but we couldn’t.
“We have to recover, and we have to make some changes in the team. We missed the creativity of Iwobi, we also missed Ndidi so much.
“It was not easy for [Frank] Onyeka and a first-timer [Taiwo] Awoniyi to come in this team.”
Notwithstanding the setback, the German is upbeat that his team will get the job done in the return leg to boost their chances of qualifying for the play-off round.
“Cape Verde were well organised but we are still ahead in the group and in three days time, I believe we will be able to win the match,” he continued.
“It will not be in Central Africa, it will be in Cameroon and on a very good pitch.
“Also, I think the fighting spirit of the team is still there. I hope in the next game, we will be luckier than today.
“There will be some changes. Already, there are some injuries and I don’t know if Kelechi [Iheanacho] is able to play because he had a knock.
“We have some players who are tired because they ran a lot and were fighting as always. This defeat will surely make their recovery more difficult.
“They will not sleep well tonight but we have to recover and prepare for Sunday’s game which we must win.”