The Nigeria Football Federation’s president, Amaju Pinnick, has stated that the football regulatory body will bear responsibility for the Super Eagles’ 2022 World Cup qualifying loss to Central Africa Republic.
Nigeria’s flawless start to the World Cup qualifying campaign came to an end with a 90th-minute goal by substitute Karl Namnganda at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos, as Raoul Savoy’s side grabbed their first maximum points of Group C.
Nigeria lost for the first time in 40 years in a World Cup qualifier at home.
Pinnick voiced his regret in the loss in a statement released by the NFF communication department, claiming that the federation had done everything possible to assure the team’s victory. But he was also quick to say that as a federation they were ready to accept responsibility for the defeat.
“This result came as a complete shock, especially after the NFF went above and beyond to make the team feel at ease and focused on the work at hand, even going above and above in a number of areas.”
“This is a setback that can be easily reversed, and we will take the Nigerian Spirit to Cameroon. The NFF is backing the team to finish first in their group and advance to the knockout stage.
“At the midway point of this phase, our Super Eagles remain in first place. Even injured players like Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo, and Alex Iwobi are in touch with me. They’re all disappointed with the outcome. All of the players who took part in today’s contest are solemn and sad.
They know what is important now is their reaction to the situation when they take to the pitch in Douala on Sunday. We believe they will deliver against the same team.”
“Everyone is startled,” he continued, “but we don’t have to be emotional or unpleasant about it.” The same team defeated Liberia at home and Cape Verde on the road. They haven’t lost their ability to deliver. We accept responsibility for this failure as a Football Federation. In three days, we believe things will have improved. We also believe that this defeat is a huge wake-up call for the squad, and that it will serve as a catalyst for them to reset and encourage themselves in order to not only qualify for the World Cup, but also to perform well in Qatar.”
Nigeria is still in first place in Group C with six points, and will face Les Fauves in the qualifiers on Sunday in Douala.
A win in the game will put them in a good position to qualify for the playoff rounds ahead of the final round of group games next month.