Nigeria call crisis meetings after Bafana Bafana defeat

Nigeria football officials will hold two crisis meetings this week following the Super Eagles’ 2-0 defeat by South Africa in 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifying.

The Technical and Development Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation will meet with national coach Gernot Rohr on Tuesday morning and then with Nigeria Sports Minister Solomon Dalung later in the day.

Committee chairman Christopher Green said the issue of the World Cup qualifying matches against Cameroon in September will be top of the agenda.

“It was not the result we worked or prayed for, but the truth is we have only lost one of six matches in the series, and this wake-up call has come at the right time. It has also come when we still have the opportunity to rectify things and prepare harder for the remaining matches of the FIFA World Cup qualifying race,” Green said.

“Losing to South Africa was never in our calculation, but it has happened. Someone once said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Now, everyone, including the technical crew and the players, know that we must work harder than we have ever done, dig deeper than we have ever done and show the kind of commitment greater than we have ever shown in the two qualifying campaigns.

“Now, we have to focus squarely on the FIFA World Cup qualifiers because the race to the Cup of Nations will only resume in nine months’ time. In two-and-a-half months, we have classical World Cup battles with Cameroon. That is the only issue on our minds at the moment.”

The meeting with Dalung, however, will be focused on what went wrong against South Africa, including the reasons for the NFF’s inability to clear their allocation of official match balls.

“This is a temporary setback which is surmountable. We need to sit with the Technical Committee and crew to find out the immediate and remote causes of this setback,” Dalung said.

“We have very young talented players in the Super Eagles and we trust that with more hard work and determination, this result can be reversed when we go to South Africa.

“This is just the beginning of a long journey. The Super Eagles will definitely be in Cameroon because we can’t afford to be absent at the Africa Cup of Nations for a third consecutive time.

“We must do all within our means to support the team when they win and when there’s a setback. We will ensure that no stone is left unturned in our pursuit of a ticket to Cameroon.”

Report by Collin Udoh

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