Bitrus Bewarang, the Technical Director of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), says the Super Eagles must take to heart lessons learnt from their hard-fought victory against Burundi at the ongoing AFCON.
Reacting to Nigeria’s 1-0 victory over the tournament’s lowest-ranked team, Bewarang told the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday that the Super Eagles should by now have learnt lessons.
He said they should know that there were no longer pushovers in African football.
“The most important thing is that we were able to take the maximum points. I believe that the victory will set the stage for better performances subsequently.
NAN reports that a 77th minute goal by substitute striker Odion Ighalo calmed the nerves of the Super Eagles in a game many had expected the Nigerian side to win easily.
The China-based forward benefitted from a back-heeled assist from Ola Aina.
Bewarang expressed the belief that The Swallows, ranked 134 in the FIFA rankings, could have created an upset against the Super Eagles.
“The first half of the game was lacklustre by the Eagles’ standard and the Burundians even had two clear-cut chances to take the lead in spite of Nigeria’s dominance,” he said.
The former Super Eagles assistant coach however commended the Super Eagles technical crew, led by Gernot Rohr, for the substitutions which proved to win the match for Nigeria.
“The second half was livelier than the first because the team came out more and the substitutions made by the coach proved vital to Nigeria’s victory,” he said.
Nigeria’s next match will be against fellow Group B favourites Guinea, and Bewarang advised the Super Eagles to be more open to tactical changes and avoid complacency.
“Going forward, the coaching crew has to be more open to tactical switches.
“The Super Eagles should by now understand that every match deserves to be taken seriously, regardless of who they are playing against,” he said.
(Edited by Olawale Alabi)
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