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Westerhof: Eagles’ AFCON 2019 Bronze Feat Not Bad; But Ighalo Retiring Too Early

Westerhof: Eagles’ AFCON 2019  Bronze Feat Not Bad; But Ighalo Retiring Too Early

Former Nigeria coach, Clemens Westerhof has told Completesports.com that Super Eagles’ bronze medal feat at the 32nd Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt is not a bad result despite his earlier conviction that the Gernot Rohr’s men had all it takes to scoop the trophy.

Westerhof had during the tournament insisted Super Eagles were title favourites given the array of talented Nigerian players in various clubs in Europe, but a semifinal 2-1 defeat by Riyad Mahrez-inspired Desert Foxes of Algeria left the three-time African champions out of the title race and had to overcome Carthage Eagles of Tunisia 1-0 in the bronze match to ensure Nigeria did not leave Egypt empty handed.

It was the Super Eagles’ eighth bronze medal win in the history of the Africa’s premier football championship.

And Westerhof who was in charge when the Super Eagles won the trophy for the second time in 1994 in Tunisia reckons it’s not an entirely bad campaign in Egypt.


Westerhof’s five-year successful career as Super Eagles manager (1989-1994) started with silver medal at Algiers ’90 and bronze at Senegal ’92.

“I said the Super Eagles would win the cup in Egypt, but they didn’t,” Westerhof said when he spoke to Completesports.com on Wednesday.

“I was disappointed when they lost to Madagascar. It was shameful, but they beat Cameroon, I knew they were good to come (home) with the cup.

“But against Algeria, they lost again. But it’s good to beat Tunisia and win the bronze.

“Gold (trophy) was far. Silver, also far, but bronze, yes it is fair. It is good (to win bronze) than not winning anything,” he reiterated from his native country, the Netherlands.

On the future of the Super Eagles, the ‘Dutch-Gerian’ posits that the current squad have the potential to excel in the future.

“They are still young players, yes, they can,” he stated.

On the retirement of two key players of the team, captain Mikel Obi and AFCON top scorer, Odion Ighalo, Westerhof says it’s the prerogative of players to decide when to quit but feels Ighalo’s exit was too early.

“Mikel, yes. But Ighalo, he did well at the Nations Cup and I think it’s too early (for him) to stop playing (for the national team),” he remarked.

By Sab Osuji

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  • Greenturf 3 years ago

    Yes it’s early retirement for Ighalo but good eagles.
    It may look bad now because we can’t pick anyone as his replacement but I believe in the coming season someone will spring up.It could be a Iheanacho,Success who have underperformed but have a reverse season it happens in football with hardwork or a new player entirely.
    Nigeria is huge with plenty of talents we shouldn’t cry over Ighalo rather we should celebrate because a striker with better luck will emerge to help us win the next Afcon in Cameroon.

    • Yes, we can win the next AFCON with a brand new striker. We won’t have to deploy 10 planes haul in supporters like Algeria did; the venue is in our backyard.

      God bless Ighalo for doing so well for Nigeria. The stage is set to find a consistent and clinical finisher…. and a magnetic keeper.

  • I belueve is only a victim of Rhor’s one man attack pattern.
    If Rhor will ever stop playing defensive game of two holding midfielders, and play a #4 DM and #8 AM, a #10,#7 and #11 in a 4-4-2, maybe Ighalo will become the new Yekini.
    But Rhor will never change, and that is why Rhor Must Go.

    CHange we can see and believe in, not APC kind of change.

  • *** I believe Ighalo is a victim of Rhor’s one man attack patter .
    A 4-4-2 with two wingers and a supporting attacker will bring out the Yekini in him.

  • Dr. Drey 3 years ago

    Hehehehehe….where is Omo9ja….?
    Why is he not quick to corroborate what Westerhoff has just said here….? LMAO
    If it were to be full of negatives, his comments will be no 1 on this comment thread..! Lolz

  • Emeka 3 years ago

    Please Nigeria go back for Tammy Abraham

  • Dammy 3 years ago

    Ultimate Search! Super Eagles Coaches scouting for Goalkeepers:
    Sebastian Osigwe: Goal Keeper.
    Joe Aribo: Mid fielder.
    Fatai Alashe: Striker
    Fanendo Adi: Striker.

    • I believe if we have a decent 2019/20 season the local league can produce two goalkeepers to dislodge Akpeyi and Ezenwa.

      Between now and November, we should have at least 3 months of NPFL football. Anozie, Femi Thomas, Afelokhai and Ajiboye were top performers last season. Surely if the season starts by the middle or end of August they should have had enough playing time to warrant a look in.

      With regards strikers, Osimhen, Odey, Okereke are there or thereabouts. And I concur, if Iheanacho and Success have a good first three months they can also be looked at

  • @Emeka…thank you very much..I’ve been thinking the same thing here.
    @Dammy, I’ve not heard about Fanendo ADI for the past 2 years now.

  • Yes, we can win the next AFCON with a brand new striker. We won’t have to deploy 10 planes haul in supporters like Algeria did; the venue is in our backyard. very true

  • Amadi 3 years ago