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Nigerian Super Eagles hit the ground

Asumpta Lattus (AFP, Reuters)
November 20, 2014

Defending champions Nigeria failed to qualify for next year's Africa Cup of nations after being beaten by South African Bafana Bafana. Shock still reigns among Nigerian soccer fans.

African Cup of Nations AFCON 2013
Image: Reuters

Nigeria's dramatic elimination happened on Wednesday (19.11.2015) after South African Bafana Bafana managed to secure a 2-2 draw with the Super Eagles. Speaking to Reuters news agency, a school teacher, Paul Istifanus, like many other Nigerian soccer fans, could not hide his disappointment.

"It is a big embarrassment to the whole nation because Nigeria is giant of Africa even in football and resources, and everything, but we failed to qualify," Istifanus said. He is blaming the coach for the team's elimination.

"I can say the coach disappointed us, not the players. If.... (Stephen) Keshi is a good coach, he is losing two goals, he should have made a substitution," Istifanus insisted.

The shock, disbelief and disappointment was echoed by Nigerian soccer fans within the country and around the world. One of them turned to the social media site twitter to air his frustrations.

Michael Obasi, a sport journalist in Abuja says Keshi should bow out of the national team. "We should now do away with this generation of players. We need hungrier and more committed players to represent Nigeria," Obasi added.

Stephen Keshi, Nigeria's national trainer
Nigeria's coach Keshi is under pressure after his team got beaten by South AfricaImage: Phil Walter/Getty Images

But the coach in turn blames the player for not having taken South Africa seriously in an important match that they needed to win to sail through the tournament. "Maybe we took South Africa for granted and we paid dearly for this," Keshi noted.

The defeat left the Super Eagles third in Group A with eight points, allowing Bafana Bafana to be on the tournament's finalists list. Many South African fans think it was a well deserved victory.

Ebola VS Africa cup

Ebola-stricken Guinea also managed to book its ticket for the 2015 Africa Cup of nations after they knocked out Uganda 2-0. The team is fully equipped by mainly motivated professionals playing in Europe.

Guinea had to change its home playing venue because of the Ebola epidemic which has claimed more than 5,000 lives.

Because of fear of soreading the deadly Ebola virus in the country, Morocco refused to host the championship in January and suggested to postpone it until June 2015. The African Football Confederation (CAF) instead decided to kick Morocco out of the tournament. "Postponing the cup of Nations would be like signing our death warrant," said CAF president Supremo Issa Hayatou.

The tournament now will be taking place in Equatorial Guinea, also among the finalists. Others are Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, DR Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia and Zambia.

The most suprising aspect of this year's tournament was the elimination of the Super Eagles and that of seven-time champions Egypt.

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