By Akanimo Kufre (Uyo)
The President, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Honour Sirawoo has called for patience and understanding from Nigerians following Super Eagles’ loss to Bafana Bafana of South Africa in the opening match of qualification for the African Cup of Nations at the weekend in Uyo.
The Super Eagles lost the fixture by two goals; making it the first time South Africa will beat Nigeria in a competitive match.
Sirawoo, who spoke via telephone interview shortly after the match stated that Nigeria’s first home loss under Gernot Rohr goes to show that the team is not where it should be and will continue to witness constant reshuffling before getting a desired Super Eagles.
While admitting that the team played below par, he called on Nigerians not to vilify the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Rohr and the players but should rather be patient as all hope is not lost in Nigeria’s quest to qualify for the Nations Cup after missing the last two editions.
“Like all Nigerians, I felt disappointed with the outcome of the match, especially as South Africa had never defeated Nigeria before now and to now do such in our home makes it even more painful.
“However, I believe there is still everything to play for with five matches yet to be played. The loss serves as a wake up call that we are not where we should be; it gives us the opportunity to identify our weak areas and bounce back in the next match.
“The NFF must know that Nigerians are not kind when it comes to losses and would not hesitate to call for sweeping changes when they are angry. Our football administrators must quickly address this embarrassing defeat and ensure all hands are on deck in subsequent matches,” he stressed.
The SWAN boss called on the players not to be dampened by the loss but take subsequent matches with all seriousness and dedication to national duty, insisting that Nigeria cannot afford not to be at the next Nations Cup.