Super Eagles Eagles B team and Olympic Eagles head coach, Imama Amapakabo, says the squad he took to the 2019 WAFU Cup of Nations in Senegal comprises more of the U23s who are passing through a formative stage towards a bigger objective of becoming Nigeria’s dream team, Completesports.com reports.
The home-based Super Eagles lost their first match of the 2019 WAFU Cup 2-1 to the Sparrow Hawks of Togo at the Stade Lat Dior Thies on Sunday night. Amapakabo’s team had also lost to the Togolese side 4-1 in a 2020 African Nations Championship qualifying first leg game in Lome a week earlier.
In Thies Senegal on Sunday, Togo went ahead in the 16th minute through Moise Kossivi Adjah’s goal. Sikiru Alimi equalized for Super Eagles B in the 33rd minute. Then Kangnivi Ama Tchoutchoui restored the Sparrow Hawks’ lead in the 43rd minute.
Despite the Nigerians’ dominant performance in the second half, the Togolese battled through it to keep their lead intact till full time
While appraising his team’s performance, Amapakabo, accepted full responsibility for the defeat but explained that the bigger objective of honing a strong U-23 Eagles team for Nigeria was well on course in the competition.
“We lost the game against Togo but the team showed the capacity to win. As you may not know, this is largely our U23 team needing exposure,” Amapakabo told TheNff.com.
“When players at that level play a competition like this they are bound to make mistakes. The first half was not up to the level we desired because there were some errors but we returned in the second half a lot much better creating many scoring chances.”
He added: “As a coach I like to take responsibilities. It is my job to make the team create quality scoring chances which they did. It’s a pity the goals didn’t come off such opportunities and we lost. Teams come to competitions to win. We also like to win every match we play but we are also mindful of the greater objective of this team. Our greater job is to build a virile young team with a competition like this. We want a team of high quality that can serve us for the U23 competitions and also develop well enough to transit to the senior national team.”
Amapakabo’s team defeat to Togo in the 2019 WAFU Cup first elimination round meant they will face either Cote d’Ivoire or Cape Verde in Saturday’s losers competition.
Eight winners from the elimination round will play in the second phase before the competition enters the semifinals, then the final on October 13.Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.