Super Eagles coach Stephen Keshi said that he was proud of his players after Nigeria and Burkina Faso settled for a 1-1 draw in a Group C match played on Monday in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.
Nigeria’s frail defence denied the Eagles the opportunity to lead the group. The Eagles had taken the lead in the game off a 22nd minute goal scored by Emmanuel Emenike and held on to the thin lead until four minutes into added time when an Alain Traore strike levelled score.
But Keshi in his post-match media session said that he was taking the result of the game in his stride as they prepare for the next clash against Zambia.
He said, “I am very proud of players tonight. They did everything I wanted them to do in the game. This is the fourth game we are playing in the last two weeks as a team. Tonight, I will let them sleep and then we can talk about the game tomorrow; if I need to pass individual blame, I will do so or it could be in group. But this game is gone already and we need to prepare well against Zambia.
“I will psyche them up very well for the next match which is very important.”
Keshi former teammate and also a former captain of the Nigerian team Sunday Oliseh believes the Eagles should have been able to take the full points. He made his views known via Twitter.
“We are the architect of our loss but I feel we can still qualify,” he tweeted.
In the Monday match, Nigeria’s dominance of the first half was reflected by the brilliant goal netted by Emenike. The goal came off a brilliant back flick-on from Ideye. By the second half, their quality dropped as the Burkinabes put up strong pressure in their bid to equalise. The pressure on Nigeria’s defence forced Efe Ambrose to commit a second bookable offence and therefore got a red card in the 74th minute. Before the card was given, Ikechukwu Uche who came in as a 57th minute substitute for Emenike had blasted away two chances to cushion Nigeria’s lead. Other scoring chances missed left Nigeria rueing their loss of full points.
The result means that all teams in the group are level on one point each. Earlier on 10-man Ethiopian team had forced defending champions Zambia to also 1-1 draw. Nigeria will face Zambia on Friday.