The senior national team of Nigeria, the Super Eagles, have apologized to Nigerians for their inability to qualify for next year’s African Cup of Nations in Gabon.
The Super Eagles were beaten by Egypt, through a 64th minute Ramadan Sobhy goal, in a match that they needed to win to have any chance of progressing to next years competition.
In a series of tweets, the team conceded that even though they did their best, it wasn’t good enough:
I personally apologised to Nigerians for the inability of the Super Eagles to qualify for the campaign to AFCON. We must plan better again.
‘‘We apologize for our inability to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. We gave this campaign our best efforts but sadly fell short,’‘ the said.
Adding that, ‘‘We know how disappointed our fans are and we feel their pains too but we ask that they forgive us & never stop getting behind us in future.’‘
The team concluded by saying that they were looking forward to qualifiers to the 2018 World Cup, which is due to begin in October this year.
Now, our focus is to get these setbacks behind us & quickly regroup for the fast approaching 2018 World Cup qualifiers starting in October.— Nigeria Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) March 30, 2016
The team’s preparation suffered a setback with the resignation of manager Sunday Oliseh in the lead up to the Egypt fixture, leading the football federation to put Samson Siasia in charge for the two games.
Nigeria have now failed to qualify for two successive AFCON tournaments, even though the last time they participated, they emerged eventual winners with former international Stephen keshi in charge of the team.
The Super Eagles beat Burkina Faso back then (in 2013) by a lone goal in South Africa to clinch the titile, their third in after winning it in 1980 and 1994.
Beyond the team, the Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung also tweeted an apology for the team’s failure.
I personally apologised to Nigerians for the inability of the Super Eagles to qualify for the campaign to AFCON. We must plan better again.— Solomon Dalung (@SolomonDalung) March 30, 2016