Sports fans in Gombe on Saturday attributed the failure of the Super Eagles to secure their first opening World Cup win since France 1998 to player’s errors.
The fans said this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe while reacting to Nigeria’s defeat to Croatia at the Kaliningrad Stadium.
NAN reports that the Super Eagles lost to Croatia by two goals to nil.
Mr Tijjani Jafar, Special Assistant to Gombe State Chairman, Sport Commission, said players’ errors and set pieces cost the Super Eagles their defeat.
” We performed below average and I tell you the set pieces cost us a lot. The players errors were just too much.
“We are out of this tournament I can tell you. The players were used in strange positions. We should have had Kelechi and Musa start this match,” he said.
Mr Halilu Teli, Chairman, Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria (SWAN) Gombe, said that lack of concentration which snowballed from the friendly matches was responsible for the performance of the Super Eagles.
”Lack of concentration after the first goal had a big psychological effect on the Nigerian players as they lost focus.
”During the friendlies, we complained about the lack of concentrations and chemistry before the World Cup and now it’s happening again.
”The match was okay but there was no striking power for the Super Eagles and the lack of chemistry between the players was a disadvantage that should be worked on.
“They failed to utilise their chances and handed over the midfield to Modric and Rakitic, which was not too good,” he said.
The Chairman advised that the striking and midfield deficiencies be addressed by having more creative attackers and midfielders to do the damage.
Mr Valentine Obi, another football enthusiast, told NAN that he was optimistic that the Super Eagles would qualify despite the loss.
Musa Ibrahim, a die-hard fan of Super Eagles and a sportswear businessman, said he was satisfied with the result and was ready to “sink or float with the Super Eagles”.
According to him, Nigeria’s appearance in Russia is a victory, adding that Nigerians must support the team totally to get good results against Iceland and Argentina.
NAN reports that since the Super Eagles’ win against Spain in France 1998, Nigeria have failed to win their last three opening World Cup games.