By Emmanuel Okogba
Super Eagles gaffer, Gernot Rohr has blamed the absence of key players from his squad as one of the reasons his side fell to the Central Africa Republic on Thursday.
CAR shocked Nigeria 1-0 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, a complete opposite of what football fans and pundits expected the outcome to be, even though the Super Eagles had a larger share of ball possession.
Alex Iwobi and Wilfred Ndidi, regular starters were out with injured and Rohr had to tinker his team by bringing in Brentford midfield, Frank Onyeka and Chidera Ejuke.
The CAR side stuck by their game plan which was defending and hitting Nigeria on the counter which eventually paid off with the 91st minute strike.
“We tried to win this match. We knew it was a difficult match. This team has a very good organization as seen from their matches against Liberia and Cape Verde”, Rohr said in a post match interview
“We missed some players and had to build a new midfield. The creativity of Alex Iwobi for example. First half was difficult, second half was better. We tried to score, we had a lot of chances, we could not and in football you have the possibility of the opponent scoring a goal.
“We lost the match but we still top the group with six points. We’ll go there (Douala) in three days and try to win the game (reverse fixture). We have the better team but some times the better team doesn’t win.”
Nigeria will travel to Cameroon to face CAR on Sunday in an attempt to improve on the lead establised in Group C after the setback.
An away fixture against Liberia and a home game against Cape Verde will complete the first round qualification of Nigeria.
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