By Albert Akota with agency report
Dutch coach, Jo Bonfrere, has hit out at home-based Super Eagles coaches in the aftermath of Nigeria’s elimination from the 2020 African Nations Championship, (CHAN) by Hawks of Togo.
The CHAN Eagles needed three goals, without conceding, on Saturday at the Agege Stadium, Lagos, to erase their first leg 4-1 defeat to Togo to seal fourth consecutive appearance in the Nations Cup for African players plying their trade on the continent, but could only win it 2-0.
Nigeria won bronze in her first appearance in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa, and silver in 2018 in Morocco.
In 2016 edition in Kigali, under coach Sunday Oliseh, the home- based Eagles did not fare beyond the group stage.
Though the Imama Amapakabo charges won 2-0 on the night against Togo, the result fell shy of upturning the deficit, meaning Nigeria crashed out on 3-4 aggregate and will not be part of the CHAN 2020 finals in Cameroon next January.
Bonfrere, who sat among the Agege Stadium crowd in company of two Chinese Scouts, told Completesports.com that the Eagles’ defeat was down to ‘tactical deficiency’ on the part of the Nigerian team.
“I was at the Agege Stadium. I saw the match. Togo knew Nigeria had good midfield especially after the two goals.
“They played the ball high up. Long balls in a crowd [of defenders] is not good, goals don’t come that way.
“So, they locked their defence, pushed up more players in the middle. And I thought, tactically, the Eagles didn’t get it right.
“When opponents fall back home in large numbers, defensively, you play from the wings, left, right.
“Nigeria had fast players and crosses would have unsettled Togo and goals would have come”.
Bonfrere has been in the country in the past week on a scouting mission.
He was in charge of Nigeria’s U-23 Dream Team 1 that won the football event of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the first time by an African team.
Four years later, he guided the Super Eagles to a silver medal feat at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations co-hosted by Nigeria and Ghana.