Nigerian football fans have been reacting with a sense of disappointment following the country’s failure to qualify for the next U-23 African Cup of Nations tournament.
Nigeria's U-23 Eagles bit the dust in Rabat, Morocco after losing to Guinea 2-0 in the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on Tuesday.
Second-half goals from Guinea’s Algassime Bah and Alseny Soumah sealed the fate of the Eagles during the second leg match.
Guinea and Nigeria had a goaless draw in their first encounter in Abuja last week. The latest result means Guinea have qualified for the U-23 African Cup of Nations starting in June in Morocco but the Eagles will not play at the continental tournament starting in June in Morocco.
By extension, they will also miss the 2024 Paris Olympic Games because only top three teams at the African Cup of Nations are eligible to participate in football at the Olympics.
‘It’s a shame’
This is the second time in a row Nigeria have failed to qualify for the Olympics because the West African country did not go to the 2020 games in Tokyo after crashing out at the group stage of the U-23 AFCON.
Nigerian coach, Salisu Yusuf, and the football federation have come under criticism from disappointed fans following the latest defeat.
Lagos-based sports analyst, Chris Ogugua told TRT Afrika that the coach had been given ‘’more than enough time’’ to prove himself but remained ‘’unsuccessful.’’ “I do not see why we continue to use a coach that doesn’t turn up a different result. This is the second Olympic miss in a row. It’s a shame,” Ogugua lamented.
But the country’s football governing body, the Nigeria Football Federation has thanked fans for their support in a Tweet.
However, some fans replied suggesting it is partly responsible for the woeful performance of the football team.
The hopes of Nigerians now rest with the country’s main national team, the Super Eagles, as they struggle to qualify for another continental tournament, Afcon 2023, rescheduled for January next year.
If the Super Eagles eventually qualify, fans might get some consolation, otherwise more disappointment will set in.