Ikhana To Nigerians: Super Eagles Deserve Commendation, Not Condemnation

Ikhana To Nigerians: Super Eagles Deserve Commendation, Not Condemnation

Kadiri Ikhana has pleaded with Nigerians not to condemn the Super Eagles after their 2-1 defeat to the Desert Foxes of Algeria in Sunday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations semifinal match in Cairo, Completesports.com reports.

Ikhana, a winner of the continent’s most prized silverware in 1980 in Lagos with the then Green Eagles, urges Nigerian football freaks to bear the loss with spirit of sportsmanship and take the positives from the team’s campaign in Egypt, especially the fact that the Gernot Rohr’s charges did their best but were undone by hard luck.

The 2003 CAF Coach of the Year after steering Enyimba to win that year’s CAF champions League – the first by any Nigerian club or coach, believes the squad is one for the future with most of the players still new to such ‘high tempo’ AFCON tournament.

“It is sad that the Super Eagles lost. As a patriotic Nigerian, I feel bad but the reality check is that the semifinal match against Algeria brought to the fore the immaturity of the Super Eagles,” starts Ikhana when he took time to analyse the game to Completesports.com Monday afternoon.

“Many of them have not featured in the Nations Cup before. These players are young and new to each other in the team and are equally young.

“The Africa Cup of Nations is too high for them. They really gave their best under the circumstances and indeed deserve commendation.


“They are a team for the future. It was just hard luck. They did their best, I must confess.

“I would have been surprised to see them in the final. Tactically, they were okay but the attack didn’t function well.”

The former Kano Pillars, Sharks and Sunshine Stars gaffer admits there were lapses in the Super Eagles’ goalkeeping department as well as the defence.

“As a defender, you don’t kick that way at that moment of a game. But then, that is where the issue of exposure comes in.

“The goalkeeper has some blames here because the wall was not properly set and the ball went through the area he had clear view of.

“It would have been different if Mahrez had curled the ball over the wall, but getting it past from the area the goalkeeper was supposed to cover reflects his limitations.

“Like I said earlier, it goes down to lack of exposure and inexperience. But in future, the Super Eagles will be okay because individually, the players have long years ahead of them in the national team.”

By Sab Osuji
(Pix: by Ganiyu Yusuf in Cairo)

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  • abba rossi 2 years ago

    see English Ikhana Tactically, they were okay but the attack did not function well? The goalkeeper has some blames here because the wall was not properly set and the ball went through the area he had clear view of?“As a defender, you don’t kick that way at that moment of a game. But then, that is where the issue of exposure comes in. Ikhana and you are saying super eagle deserve commendation not condemnation? is errors you mention came from sky? Whom to be blame? I thought super eagle we play in the last world cup and our coach having in charge for 3years? what of Algeria how long is the man been in charge? I thought is the same Algeria we play during qualifier? please the issue of young team is not a reason. If you cannot say the true just keep quite, after all is the same tactical knowledge that is the problem of our local coaches, Government should continue spending money on football but still no result while hunger is killing masses.

  • Dr. Drey 2 years ago

    “It is sad that the Super Eagles lost. As a patriotic Nigerian, I feel bad but the reality check is that the semifinal match against Algeria brought to the fore the immaturity of the Super Eagles,”
    Wise words from an experienced gaffer. You will know from his statements that he doesnt have any ulterior motives nor is he eyeing Rohr’ job. It this small ones who have never coached even high schools teams before that are making the loudest noise.
    Wether we accept it or not. Our team is still very immature. And it showed so much last night. We have exceedingly talented players, but they still need to grow. Take it or leave it.
    At 1-1, 90th min, especially since the Algerians seemed to be gaining ascendancy at that point…..you do everything to slow the game down and wind down the clock, take the ball more to the flanks rather than through the middle. 3 chances the algerians had in the last 5 mins of that game where from balls we lost in the midfield while we were trying to advance for an attack. Same mistake we made against a 10 man Italian team at USA 94…..Game Management…!
    We were clearly the better team in 40 of 45 mins of the 2nd half of that game and if only we had managed to drag the game to extra time.
    Agreed, we didnt bring enough subs onto the pitch, but we can also ask…how many subs did algerai make in the same game, despite having one day less of rest and playing 120mins against CIV.
    Game management is one of the things a coach doesn’t necessarily need to teach you. You learn it with time.
    Playing in the Semis is a realistic achievement for this team…unless we want to lie to ourselves, as some are wont to do here. Kudos to the team for how far they have come. But i hope they have learnt some lessons.

  • Razak 2 years ago

    I am glad you brought out the issue of 1994 world cup, if you are going to sack Rohr do so and get a world class coach and stop the issue of not paying your players if you don’t get your house Nigeria then you don’t deserve to go to the world cup and as for local coach look at what happened to Senegal in spite of all those good players they could not advance to the know out stage.

  • I agree with you to an extent but u coming to use inexperience as an excuse is totally not accepted,how old were the France players that won the recent World Cup,truth be said rohr is not good tactically,his changes are wrong,and he lacks confidence in his players and a very lazy coach…prior to this competition we had goalkeeping problem during the afcon qualifiers and it’s was very obvious that some our ex footballers,football experts and the fans complained and suggested for rohr to scout for goal keeper within our leagues and overseas but still the stubborn lazy payed deaf ears,now see Wat it had cost us…This Algeria team was assembled together in the space of 6 months,and see the cohesion and tactical football they play, compare to gernot rohr who has been coaching for 3 years now,yet nothing to show for it, he doesn’t even a team always doing try and error coach,the same error that threw super eagle’s out of 2018 FIFA World Cup Was The same mistake they made against Algeria no improvement atall still d same tactical deficiency…rohr must go and if he doesn’t leave the amazing pinnick and his led Nff should get out…. please Nff get me a sound tactician not an amateur coach..coaches like Harve Renald or Stuart Baxter of South Africa

    • Omo9ja 2 years ago

      Well spoken bro. Nigerians are the problem of Nigeria. Unrealistic excuses every day. French team were really young still, they won the last world cup in Russia.

      Let’s call a spade a spade. Coach Rohr is not good enough. Tactically, the coach is not there. Why wasting time NFF? NFF are the problem of our football I said it long time ago and we can see it clearly now.

      They are playing politics game with us because they knew that Nigerians love Oyinbo coach too much but that won’t work this time around. God bless Nigeria!!!

  • Divine 2 years ago

    Yes rohr is not a good coach,he should go

  • This is a former CAF champions league winner, respected coach and CAF coach of the year speaking. He must know what he’s talking about and you can’t dismiss his views with a wave of the hand. A total of 24 teams took part in this competition and every team, except the winner, must get beaten at some point. In fact, it’s the same logic for every competition. Always be prepared for heartbreak at some point or great joy.

    So, chill out and suck it, guys! My big respect to the SE, and that just even increased after Afcon 2019. In fact, I have a new level of respect for players like Etebo, Ndidi, Musa, Iwobi, Ekong, Awaziem, Ighalo, Chukwueze, Collins and the likes.

    Yes, they had a bad day in the office, but these guys are among the creme de la creme in Africa and can proudly hold their heads high anywhere. Let’s remember that only Omeruo, Mikel and Musa had Afcon experience. All the other guys were greenhorns in Afcon and yet they stepped up to the plate when called upon. Do you know how many Ivorian players have Afcon experience compared to the SE? Or Ghana? Or even Algeria or SA? Do you know how many Afcons Andre Ayew has played in? Or Jordan Ayew? I’m sure all these teams have more than 3 players in their ranks with Afcon experience. What should their fans or country people say about them?

    I don’t support mediocrity. but I also don’t criticise just for the sake of it. I also believe in encouraging rather than baying for blood every time I think a mistake was made. I think Rohr should stay, but the technical bench should be reviewed. For starters, Carl Ikeme or Peter Rufai should be the goalkeeper coach, perhaps with assistance from Enyeama. Not Alloy Agu. If you look closely at our Achilles heel in this tournament, Alloy Agu was the only that really let us down via Akpeyi. I think his standard for a good goalkeeper is too average. He can’t scout well. Amuneke should perhaps be persuaded to join the technical bench too and any other dead weight, along with Alloy Agu, should be retired.


  • Since..I never believe in Bad Luck jersey Until Yesterday.
    *The first time we wore the Jersey was against Czech Republic…and we lost 1-0. Czech Team them was said to be Newly assembled Team.
    * Next was against Croatia where we lost 0-2.Note: First Goal was an Own goal and the second was an Error from Elongated. In the match, Croatia only had 2 shots on target and the best player from our Team (Etebo) that day Scored the first goal against his darling Team.BAD LUCK
    * 3rd.. Against Argentina 1 goal to 2. Where VAR denied clear Hand Ball..BAD LUCK
    * Then Against Madagascar…0-2
    Balogun’s Error against Lowly rated Team..BAD LUCK
    * Yesterday against Algeria..another Own Goal from Elongated…BAD LUCK
    The only time we won with this Jersey was against Egypt In a friendly where Onuachu scored the fastest GOAL.
    In Summary…we don’t just lose whenever we put on the Jersey..the Curse will just pick one of our players and use him.
    Others were Nigerian under 20 Vs USA…0-3 and Falcons Vs Germany.0-3

  • Correction…Ekong and Not Elongated.

    • Pompei 2 years ago

      Lol, I come dey wonder say na which one be ELONGATED again? 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Truly it was hard luck..As for those condemning the coach carry on he is not a miracle worker even coach like Guardiola, Mourinho,Wenger etc do lose matches at times so there is no big deal. I wish the man can step aside and then we begin our usual ways again. The person speaking is someone who has coached before. Why would you blame coach or players that lost a match in that kind of circumstances? Truly it was hard luck and life goes on.

    • Pompei 2 years ago

      Tayo, we were very unfortunate. We almost beat Algeria. But this is football. We will bounce back. We always do!

  • Bishop Joshua 2 years ago

    Experience or lack of it is not based on age. The French players you used as examples were a young team but had unquantified exposure at different levels and stages of football under their belts.
    There are limits to which a coach and go. He cannot come into the field and stop individual errors. With few minutes to extra time, our Super Eagles players would have wound down the clock, by slowing down the game. I know if John Obi Mikel were to be on that pitch he would slow down the game, dictate the tempo, shield the ball from opponents and draw free kicks for the team. Same goes for Victor Moses. It is hearbreaking to concede a goal few seconds to extra time. Ndidi has been my favorite player, but he and Etebo jumps into some challenges and concede free kicks in dangerous areas that shows they are not experienced like Mikel.
    Did I hear you say we need a coach like Renard Havre or Stuart Baxter ? You see our problem with this country is that we can never be pleased. Every body thinks they know more than the coach. The Renard Havre you mentioned was eliminated in the second round. Stuart Baxter was out thought and outfoxed by Gernot Rohr in the quarter finals. What would their countries say of them? They had team with at least 3 AFCON experience while Nigerian players had only Omeruo, Musa and Mikel as players with AFCON experience. Kudos must be given to these boys and the coach for reaching this far considering the fact that Egypt with star players and world class coach, CIV, Morocco, and Ghana exited long before now.
    I am not advocating for Rohr to stay or not, but must we as a nation always, hire and fire coaches and start a rebuilding afresh? What happens to continuity and consistence? Don’t you think the coach and the players have picked up valuable experiences that would make them better?
    You don’t buy experience in the market or by age. You gain them by exposure to high profile challenges

    • Omo9ja 2 years ago

      @Bishop Joshua, why the coach didn’t introduced Mikel when things wasn’t going our way?

      Why he brought Onyekuru alone?
      He made just one sub for the rest of the game while Iwobi and co was tired and you can see clearly now that the coach is not up to the task?

      Coach Rohr can’t give what he doesn’t have period. God bless Nigeria!!!

      • Ayphillydegreat 2 years ago

        Are you not the one always shouting Onyekuru Onyekuru Onyekuru as if he’s your son on this forum???? You always complain about the coach not using Onyekuru. Now you’re the one complaining and castigating the coach for bringing in Onyekuru.

        Thank God you’re not in charge of the NFF because our football would’ve gone a thousand steps backwards. You castigated Keshi all through his time as the SuperEagles coach now you want Amuneke that failed to qualify for U20 AFCON. You want Obuh that couldn’t win the U20 AFCON and you want Oliseh that ran away in the middle of an important AFCON qualifier. We are satisfied with Rohr achievement so far because the SuperEagles are progressing and steadily rising back to the glory days. Local coaches couldn’t qualify for two consecutive AFCON. Rohr continúes. #FLY LIKE AN EAGLE INTO THE FUTURE# 

  • Olawale 2 years ago

    The defeat didn’t come from the coach but the players. I love what Rohr has done to the team by scouting young talent and I’m a fan but truth be told he is not fit when it comes to making changes. He makes Wrong and late changes. Against Algeria, he could have makes changes and also use that to wine the time down when he sees the pressure was getting much on the guys. He has really tried for the team, qualified for world and Nations cup with a game to spare but we need to move on from him and get a good coach for the team. Will prefer foreign goalkeeper trainer too.. The prob I have with local coach is bribing into the team, would have prefer local coach and foreign goalkeeper trainer.. God bless SE, God bless Nigeria

  • onwajunior 2 years ago

    Sometimes plans don’t work out. Remember the team was out of the game for only about the last 10mins in the second half. We scored in that second half. At 1-1 so many things would be going through his head – extra time, penalty etc. They scored us with the last kick of the game. We were unfortunate.

    • I guess that is one way of looking at it.

      The team has done well. Semi-finals was the minimum requirement and this they delivered. Should they win the third place play-offs, then we would have cemented our position as being among the top 3 nations in Africa.

      Rohr did his best; the players need to stand up and be counted as well. Then needed a calmer in the dying minutes of that match – perhaps a Mikel could have provided that.

      But like someone said: I should have, I could have, I would have, are the last words of a fool. Let’s look ahead to a new era for the Super Eagles. One that can hopefully help us build on the phenomenally impressive work that Rohr has done (bearing in mind where our football was before he took over).

      But, the question now should be whether Rohr is the same one to build on this fine work that has been done.

      The German may have run his course; he may have given us the best he can. Perhaps after the Cup of Nations, it may be time to reflect and chart a new course for the Super Eagles – one that the style of football the Rohr plays might not fit so neatly.

      But, what do I know? Good luck to the team on Wednesday. Hopefully players like Uzoho, Oshimen and Onyekuru can taste meaningful action and help deliver the Bronze that we are best known for in the tournament’s history.

  • Bishop Joshua 2 years ago

    Mikel had been injured in the match against Madagascar and had recovered and started training with the team. But with the clamour from Nigerians like you against the inclusion of Mikel in the team putting pressure on Rohr and paying off, you also understand that you don’t change a winning team.
    It is unfortunate we lost to Algeria at the last kick of the game where probably they were setting their minds on extra time. One cannot fault Rohr in making only one change yet, as a match tilting towards extra time will require you don’t throw all your in aces at once. How many sub’s did Algeria make ? We are too emotional. Things may not have gone our way but that’s football for you. win some, lose some.