The Super Eagles failed to make it to the finals of the 2019 AFCON competition. Did you at any point see it coming?
Anything is possible during a championship. I did not see anything coming. Nigeria was not doing well enough to have given me the confidence required of a potential championship team.
I hoped they could improve steadily and by the end, with a little bit of luck win. I did not think they could win with the team they took there.
To what would you attribute Super Eagles’ exit from the competition?
It would say poor coaching, inexperience of some of the players, absence of a true leader in the team, bad goalkeeping and not enough quality players.
Any victory is significant because it adds to the statistics of won or lost matches, affects the FIFA rankings that impact groupings during championship qualifiers
Many blamed Super Eagles exit to tactical errors from the coach. Do you also share this view?
At critical times, he did not take decisions that gave confidence he knew what he was doing.
The team could have taken a different route to the finals if the coach had not taken Madagascar for granted, underestimated them, selected five new players into a team that was still building cohesion and needed more playing time together, rather than the disruption they got.
What do you think was lacking in this Super Eagles squad?
A leader on the field of play, a 12th ‘player’ that could have been a very active coach on the sidelines, exceptionally gifted players, and a very reliable goalkeeper.
Is the third place match insignificant as portrayed by disappointed fans?
Any victory is significant because it adds to the statistics of won or lost matches, affects the FIFA rankings that impact groupings during championship qualifiers.
There are calls to return the coaching of Super Eagles to one of our indigenous coaches. Do you share this sentiment?
Gernot has served his time and what he did was not good enough to take us to where we ought to be based on our potentials.
He should not lead us anywhere again after this.
But which indigenous coach? To name a single one now, in a domestic football climate that is so unproductive and poor is to create a new problem. That matter needs to be discussed by a team of technical people to determine the best option.
A very good coach, with plenty of knowledge and experience and who understands the Nigerian-player psychology, and is a football teacher is needed. The stupendous wages paid to a coach without pedigree must stop.
A very good coach, with plenty of knowledge and experience and who understands the Nigerian-player psychology, and is a football teacher is needed. The stupendous wages paid to a coach without pedigree must stop
Which team are you tipping to win this year’s AFCON?
Algeria has put up the best performances during AFCON 2019. They deserve to win it. But Senegal are a difficult team too and have Sane who can make a big difference in this last match.