Inexperienced players, coaches cost Nigeria victory over South Africa, says Laloko
Former Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Kashimawo Laloko has attributed the Super Eagles loss to the Bafana Bafana of South Africa to a combination of inexperience on the part of the players and the coaching crew assisting Coach Gernot Rohr.
South Africa created an upset at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State when they defeated Nigeria 2-0 in the first game of group E Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier for the Cameroon 2019 African Nations Cup.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday, Laloko said Coach Gernot Rohr walked on the same rope the late Coach Stephen Keshi trod on that ensured that we did not qualify for the 2015 AFCON after winning the 2013 edition. That is by parading five players in his team that had never played in the AFCON before.
“I once told a member of the technical committee of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) during a license coaching course in Abuja that the Eagles team then did not have a bench. And if you have no bench it means the movement of the team can be predictable and such team at the appropriate time will be dealt with. That is exactly what happened to us on Saturday against the South Africa.
“And as far as I am concerned, every other reasons given by others as to why we lost is immaterial. This was the same mistake that Stephen Keshi made when he fielded five inexperienced players during the AFCON qualifiers. And that resulted in our not going to the 2015 edition after winning the previous one,” he said.
Still expressing his sadness over the defeat, the former coach of The Gambia said the non-appearance of the old horses caused the nation the bitter loss against South Africa.
“The reason we lost that match was because there was no Victor Moses and no goalkeeper. Coach Rohr brought in players who have never played in the AFCON before for this country. In anything we are doing, experience is very important. What we lost in experience was what we lost in a more determined team, a well-prepared team.
“Rohr toyed with our lives, image and that was why we got it wrong. Experience is very important, even if you are going to engage in armed robbery. If we are not very careful that might be the end of us qualifying for the AFCON and that will be very shameful. To make matters worse, even those coaches assisting Rohr did not have the requisite to make suggestions to him and guide him with our past experience,” he said.