Nigeria given reality check as they lose to Madagascar


– Osondu Onyekachi, ABH Press

Nigeria came into the African Cup of Nations as one of the favourites after a dominant qualifying campaign and they seemed to be on course for a top of the table finish after two unconvincing 1-0 victories against Burundi and Guinea. Madagascar, being Nigeria’s last opponents in their group had other plans.
The 108th-ranked team by FIFA are competing in the tournament for the first time and were unfancied against Nigeria, the three-time AFCON champions. Madagascar, the Island nation remained unbeaten at the 32nd Total Africa Cup of Nations, ending the group stage with a 2-0 win over Nigeria that saw them claim top spot in the group and knock Nigeria down to second.
Nigerians were left highly disappointed as they saw the Super Eagles fall to Madagascar. The loss has left the whole country questioning the ability of the Nigerian team as they have not been outstanding in the tournament so far creating little and converting even less.
Nigerian coach, Gernot Rohr, claims that there is no shame in losing to Madagascar as they are a good team and qualified for the tournament first. However, no Nigerian sees it that way as being beaten by a first time participant island nation and being knocked off top spot seems like a disgrace to the Giant of Africa.
The consequences of this loss to Madagascar might be detrimental to the trophy hunt of the Super Eagles as they are now more likely to play a tougher opponent in the next stage of the tournament.
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