Completesportsnigeria.com's ADEBOYE AMOSU who is still covering the 2016 African Nations Championship in Rwanda, highlights four key factors that militated against the Home Eagles' progress in the competition, and a consequent failure to go beyond the group stage.
1. Lack Of Motivation
The home-based Super Eagles started their campaign at the African Nations Championship on an impressive note, mauling Niger 4-1. Not long after that, the players started complaining about the poor treatment meted out on them by their officials despite assurances by sports minister, Solomon Dalung that they would soon be paid all their outstanding allowances and bonuses.
For the players, who had the same experience at their respective clubs last season where they were owed for several months, it was another pill to swallow.
Majority of the players were in a sad mood on the eve of their last game against Guinea as they complained bitterly once again, and that reflected on their performance as they put up their worst performance in the three games they played at the 2016 CHAN.
2. Failure Of Key Players To Turn Up
The loss of form of some key members of the squad really affected the team in Rwanda. In defence, Jamiu Alimi was totally awful in the first game against Tunisia and it was a surprise he earned a recall into he side in the last game against Guinea.
The highly rated Paul Onobi was by far the biggest flop in the competition. His sluggish play in the midfield led to the two goals the Eagles conceded in the games against Tunisia and Guinea.
Enterprising Enyimba winger, Ezekiel Bassey struggled to replicate his old form in training and was never trusted to start a game, while forward, Tunde Adeniji also flopped.
3. Lack Of International Experience
The fact that majority of the players are playing in their first competition also affected their performance. Only the two goalkeepers; Femi Thomas and Ikechukwu Ezenwa who were part of Nigeria's U-20 squad to the World Cup in Canada in 2007, and Ifeanyi Matthew have played in an international competition in the past.
It showed in their performance in the first game against Niger where they struggled for most of the first half and the last game against Guinea where they needed just a point to qualify for the quarter-finals, and they threw everything away.
4. Coach's Inexperience
Super Eagles coach, Sunday Oliseh's inexperience was one of the biggest factors why the Eagles failed to make it beyond the group stage in Rwanda. A more experienced tactician would have fashioned out a conservative approach that would have helped the team pick a point in their last Group C match against Guinea. Instead, Oliseh's team went all out attacking and lost the game in the end.
Also,,Oliseh's decision to start Jamiu Alimi instead of Kalu Orji in the last game against Guinea was a surprise to many. Orji helped stabilise the defence after coming on as a substitute in the Eagles' first two games, but he was left on the bench in the game against Guinea.
The coach also persevered with players like Paul Onobi and skipper Chima Akas when it was obvious there were better options on the bench.