Football enthusiasts in Enugu State have attributed the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria's 1-2 loss to Burkina Faso at the ongoing U-17 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Algeria to anxiety.
Some of them, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the players played the game with fear and conceded first.
NAN reports that the Golden Eaglets crashed out of the ongoing U-17 AFCON in Algeria after losing 1-2 in the quarterfinal on Thursday night.
Chidera Offor, a female footballer with Greenfoot FC ofEnugu, said the players missed good chances in the match as a result of anxiety about coming out second best.
“The boys played well, but in football, if you don’t take your changes when you have them, forget it because it will come back to hunt you,” she said.
“Nigeria started the game on a high, which I really like, and missed the first three golden chances, which is not acceptable in modern football,” she added.
“Secondly they kept falling down on the pitch, every player wanted to score and forgot to try the goalkeeper with a distance shot,”she said
She blamed the defender for fouling the striker, which resulted in the penalty; the defender had closed him down and should have avoided contact with him.
“I must commend the players for reaching this stage; they are young and vibrant. So they have a bright future with a better program,” Offor said.
Coach Blaise Ude expressed disappointment in the technical crew, saying that they are the ones who let the country down by not upholding their responsibilities.
“Imagine your players cannot calm down their nerves in front of the goal post to make a better decision, and everybody wants to score at the same time.
“When everybody wants to score in amatch, you find out that nobody succeeds at the end of the day because football is not an individual sport like boxing," Ude said.
Udeh, who is a boxing coach in the state, hailed the players strength, ability, and willingness to set things right but said they lacked the basic technicalities to kill the game.
Nobert Okolie, Rangers Football Club media officer, said the team lost to Burkina Faso because they failed to play as a team.
“From the look of things, the Golden Eaglets do not have a leader at the defense and lack scoring power,” she said.
“We conceded the first goal from a loose ball and the second from a misguided tackle; you can see that we are the cause of our downfall," he said.