Former Nigeria international, Peter Rufai has played down Supersand Eagles 3-1 penalties defeat by West African rivals, Ivory Coast in Wednesday night's match-day two clash in the on-going CAF Beach Soccer AFCON in Lagos, and remains upbeat that the team will progress to last four, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Rufai who is called 'Dodo Mayana' during his playing days was one of the top dignitaries who watched the game from the stands.
The former Super Eagles goalkeeper and captain said afterwards that the Super Sand Eagles lost their cool in the closing seconds, hence the Ivoriens drew level, forcing the game into two minutes of extra time which did not break the deadlock either.
"I won't say because the Super Sand Eagles lost to Ivory Coast they won't qualify for the next round," begins Rufai when Completesportsnigeria.com spoke to him after the energy-sapping game at the Eko Atlantic Beach, Lagos.
"It was a tough game, Nigeria and Ivory Coast are two top beach soccer teams in Africa, so I'm not surprised about the result.
"But I had expected the Eagles to win. They had the chance. With scores at 4-3 with only 21 seconds to end the third period, I was thinking the game would stay that way.
"But it was like the players were carried away. They lost concentration almost immediately and the Ivoriens equalised.
"But there is still one more game to go, yes, they can qualify for the next round. If they beat Ghana, why not.
"It's interesting coming around to watch beach soccer AFCON. It is good it is happening here and it shows Nigeria is good in sports and culture too," Rufai told Completesportsnigeria.com.