Super Eagles B team coach, Imama Amapakabo, has vehemently rejected suggestions that the team underrated Hawks of Togo in Sunday’s 2020 African Nations Championship qualifier in Lome, Togo, hence the shock 4-1 defeat, Completesports.com reports.
Hawks came from behind to defeat the Eagles after Sunusi Ibrahim’s goal had taken Nigeria in front 10 minutes after kick off. Richard Nane’s brace (16th, 67th minutes), Tchakei Marouf’s penalty kick goal in the 75th minute and Agoro Ashraf’s stoppage time strike secured the massive win for Hawks.
The embarrassing result has now put Nigeria at the risk of elimination from qualifying for a tournament they emerged as runners up last year in Morocco.
Amapakabo has come under intense criticism for the scandalous defeat, with suggestions they may have under estimated the potentials of their hosts, Togo.
The Enugu Rangers NPFL title winning coach in 2016 attributes the heavy defeat to inability of his young team to cope with the experience of the hosts who paraded their very experienced national team.
“No, we did not underrate our opponents, Togo, never,” Amapakabo said.
“It would be foolish to underrate your your opponent in a game of this nature.
“The truth is that we fielded a predominantly young team that could not really live up to expectation technically, compared to the senior players that the Togolese paraded who have gained experience and exposure over the years.
“We have put the game behind. It is a learning curve. We have taken the positives and have to move forward for the return leg match.”
Amapakabo remains optimistic that his team haa not lost out in the race to earn CHAN 2020 berth.
“It is absolutely wrong to think or conclude that this (first leg) match would determine the team that qualifies.
“It is a game of two halves, one half has been played, another half still remains to be decided.
“We know for a fact that no two games are ever the same. Between now till October 19, when the return leg match would be played is still quite enough time (for us) to make amends.
“It is after the return leg match in Nigeria that the picture would become clear as to who qualifies.”
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