Says first leg match disappointing
Former Super Eagles striker, Julius Efosa Aghahowa is among the Nigerians who were disappointed by Nigeria's senior national team's surprised loss to lowly-rated Guinea Bissau in the AFCON qualifying match Friday in Abuja.
Speaking to Sports Vanguard weekend on the game and the way forward as the Super Eagles face the Wild Dogs of Guinea Bissau in the return legs today in Morocco, he said it was unfortunate that Nigeria succumbed to Guinea Bissau and called for the players change of attitude and mentality.
The former FC Shaktar Donetsk goal.merchant said, " we were expecting a lot from the Super Eagles, at least victory, we were expecting that they would come out with the three points from the game but unfortunately, we lost the game. So the players themselves were equally not happy. They wanted more, but at the end of the day, they lost.
" So the only consolation now is the return legs on Monday (today) in Morocco where hopefully, they'll get the victory to make everybody happy again".
Known for his back flip celebration wherever he scores during his active days, the former Bendel Insurance striker noted that there are no minors again in African football while urging the Super Eagles to up their ante in the reverse leg of the game today to claim back their group lead.
"In African football these days, you cannot write off any team. Other African countries are improving their game especially whenever they want to play against African giants in football like Nigeria's Super Eagles.
"For me, the problem with our team these days has always been the mentality and attitude that we put up when we are playing against any other African team in the qualification games. If we don't have the right attitude and the right mindset to play these games, we might just be hoping that before the end of first half or 90 minutes we are going to win forgetting that these players that you're going to play against, they also want to win.
" So the attitude and the mentality have to change a little bit because, there, it's not going to be easy. If you play a team like Sudan for example or in some countries that have a very tough or bad pitch or where the weather is not friendly you might find it difficult to win a game there. But here we played at home and finding it difficult to win a game, then how do we expect to win when we get to a very difficult terrain .
" Having a team studded with stars making waves all round the globe like our Super Eagles could be counter productive sometimes and that's why I said it's not good a thing to write off any team or feel that because you have all the talents in your team who are playing top football in the world's best clubs in Europe you can rely on that alone to win matches. No, talents alone does not win games, talents does not score goals, but you need to put in the work, you need to have that team play, you need to have serious backroom staff preparation in every game and you need to have a good bench as well.
So these are all the things that make up a team and not just individual players. If you have a team that do not have big names , the players are ready to right from the blast of the whistle the ll the end of the 90 minutes and you might be surprised that they win the game. But in if you have a lot of stars and feel that you are going to win the match because you feel they're a small team at the end of the day,you might lose that game. So at the end of the game, you'll find out that hardwork pays with talents, not just having one and leaving out the other.
"For me, the mentality has to change a little bit and as they go into the reverse leg of the match today, our only consolation is for them to go there and bring back the three points so that they can take back the group lead again. So we're expecting that by next game Monday (today), they'll get everything right and get the victory to make the Eagles fans and Nigerians happy again . However,I still have the believe in the ability of these players in but the mentality and attitude have to change a little bit".