Reactions have continued to trail the quarter-final encounter between Nigeria and South Africa in which Nigeria’s Super Eagles defeated South Africa’s Bafana Bafana 2 – 1 to move to the semi-final of the ongoing African Cup of Nations 2019 that took place on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at Cairo International Stadium in Egypt. Here are what some Nigerian told our reporters, Janet Ifidon, Timileyin Okunuga, Motunrayo Awokoya and Hamzat Latifat about the match and the team:
Popoola Biodun Mayowa, Teacher
The game was played according to my expectation because the Nigerian players are much more valued than their opponents which are just 30 million pounds. And another point is that in football history, they’ve never defeated us in any competitive match. Our coach tried his best in terms of tactics because the game against South Africa has proved that but we still need to improve more. If truly we want to have this trophy we must try not to concede goals. In the next game, I expect the players to have high morale against any of teams – Algeria/Cote D’Ivoire. Since we have defeated the defending champions, Cameroon, the only way to redeem our image of not qualifying for two consecutive Nations Cup should be coming back home with the trophy.
Alimi Muhideen Olalekan, a businessman
Talking about the performance of the boys yesterday, they played a bit above average level. Kudos to the defence and our wingers, they were outstanding. The only area where the coach needs to come in is the technical aspect of the team. We need to dominate our opponents and create more scoring chances/opportunities. The attackers lacked cut edge yesterday and that was why we wasted so many beautiful chances. Furthermore, I would expect the coach to bring in a backup plan for the tiring Odion Ighalo because he looked tired and was just a shadow of himself yesterday. Finally on the average, all of the boys are good but the coach really needs to bring out the best out of them so that we can bring home the continental trophy.
Yinka Kekere Ekun, Online Trader
Recently, the Super Eagles have been finding it difficult to win against South Africa after not being able to win in their last five games against the Bafana Bafana. Although the odds favoured the Super Eagles some of us were afraid of facing the South Africans based on their last performance – knocking out the host country, Egypt. The coach got the selection right by starting Samuel Chukwueze ahead of Moses Simon and it paid off well as the Villarreal man got us the first goal of the game. And also he brought on Moses Simon when he noticed the guy playing the number two position was almost out through the persistent threat posed Olalekan, Musa and the substitution paid off as Simon force out a corner in which Ekong got the Eagles the winning goal of the game. In our next game, I think if the coach can stick to the same formation he used against the South Africans and the players play with the same cohesion and team spirit it will be Nigeria straight into the final.
Oluwaseun Adeniyi, Student
The players learnt a lot from their game against Madagascar and Cameroon, they were more coordinated and they made important runs and passes. They had their belts tightened a little bit with Awaziem and Collins in form. The most accolades goes to Iwobi, Musa and Chukwueze who got the South Africa players running. The coach did an excellent job using a new tactic of having Ighalo act as a dummy to misguide the S.A defenders and all substitutions made were all right. I got a panic shock when he substituted Musa but the replacement of the players was good and the formation used was totally good for counter and faster games.
I honestly think it depends on who we have to face in the semi-final. If we are to face Algeria then I’ll say our gameplay used yesterday may actually win us the game but if we face Ivory Coast then our mild field and defenders would have to tighten up because of the threat of Wilfred Zaha and Wilfred Bony who are fast pacers and excellent dribblers.
Abideen Oguntade, Aeronautic Engineer
Chukwueze was the best player last night while Ndidi was proved to be on a level above the rest with his dynamic play. The players attacked and defended together. Iwobi was creative and dynamic while Musa continued to run and terrified their defense all through the pitch. The coach made a valuable substitute as his change in putting Simon Moses led to the cross from the corner flag for the winning goal. The whole team had a coherent look and was solid if not spectacular. We will definitely win and qualify for the final. Our style of play is primed to bring results. It matters a little with who we have to face in the semi-final.
Anuoluwapo Moses, Hair Stylist
The players are getting better, they all did a great job and I think they got this good from the previous matches they played. The coach amazed me and I really must commend his good work, I like his tactics and well-formed formation. I pray and hope we do better than we have been doing because it really isn’t easy to qualify to the finals but hopefully we get to win. God bless Nigeria
Isinwa Kingsley, Sales Manager at 3C Hub
Yesterday’s match was a good one. The players played with heart and grit. They had multiple chances but didn’t utilize the opportunity.
I believe they should work on their final match and take their chances as they come because we have gotten to the business end of the competition. The coach should retain the same squad for the next match but he should also tactically solidify the midfield area so the spaces will close up and they play together as a unit. The coach should not give way to sentiment and should play the best out of the group. The players should work harder and smarter in the next match and not give opportunity for the opponents to take advantage.
Ibitoye Adebanji, Businessman
The match was one of the best I have seen the Super Eagles played since 2013. The boys were composed. They marked and defended well. The attack was good too, but we need to work on our finishing, make accurate passes and make all goals count because we should have won the game 3 goals ahead. I believe we are a force to reckon with now because we have planted a fear in our next opponents and I think we will scale through to the finals. The coach should be more aggressive with the players. He doesn’t talk or coordinate from where he stands. He just looks on, and he should be wary of his tactics and always know when to make a substitution to change the game. The players should try and avoid silly errors like the one that made us concede a goal yesterday. They should try and avoid giving free kicks in a crucial position; they should try to work more on accurate passing and quick decisions.
Uchenna Victor Ezerie, Internet Marketer
Nigeria played very well. They were in control of the game. I expect them to convert the opportunities they get, and they should be more coordinated as the coach is very technical. Also, the players are highly spirited.
Kechi Bassey, Businessman
The coach started with a good selection of players. Although statistically, we could argue that the South Africans weren’t a threat considering the amount of saves our goalkeeper made but in all honesty, the SA coach was a better tactician, he changed tactics and toyed with his formations all through the second half.
Ayomide Adetunji, Teacher
They played very well during the first and second half. They really tried all their best. We still have a better chance if we meet Cote d’Ivoire. The coach’s decision is cool; he is not political at about selecting the players.
Daniel Edem, Businessman
The match was a good one and the players played smart and not hard, which makes them deserve the win of two points. The coach was very supportive to his team by bracing up his opponent to give a settled mind so as to relieve tension off his team player.