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AFCON 2019: Victory over Burundi will boost Eagles’ confidence, Izilein says


(Top L to R) Nigeria’s goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, Nigeria’s forward Paul Onuachu, Nigeria’s midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, Nigeria’s defender William Ekong, Nigeria’s defender Kenneth Omeruo, Nigeria’s midfielder John Obi Mikel, (bottom L to R) Nigeria’s midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo, Nigeria’s defender Olaoluwa Aina, Nigeria’s forward Samuel Chukwueze, Nigeria’s defender Abdullahi Shehu, and Nigeria’s forward Alex Iwobi pose for a group picture during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Nigeria and Burundi at Alexandria Stadium on June 22, 2019. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

Godwin Izilein, a former coach of the Golden Eaglets, on Saturday said Super Eagles’ victory over Burundi would boost their confidence ahead of their next match.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerian side beat their Burundian counterparts 1-0 on Saturday in Alexandria at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tagged “Egypt 2019”.

Izilein, who spoke to NAN after the match, said Nigerians have a lot to hope for with the way the Eagles played the match.


He however said the game’s lone goal was too late in coming, considering the calibre of players in the Nigerian
squad, advising that they should not give Nigerians room for concern.

“It is difficult to play against the unknown, particularly when you talk about their pedigree.

“The Burudians came in as a dark horse. Nobody knows much about them. I knew it was going to be a difficult match.

“The Eagles also did not disappoint. They played calmly for most part of the 90 minutes. Their passes were accurate, but the only snag was their finishing and touch.

“However, when Odion Ighalo entered the pitch, he perfectly utilised one of the passes. That is football, it shows maturity. Nigerians doff their hat for him (İghalo).”

However Izielen, who also once coached the Super Falcons, described Akpeyi as a disappointment, while he said Samuel Chukwueze was the shining star of the team.

He said Chukwueze would be an asset to the team by the time the players get to understand him.


“He is a fantastic player whose mates are yet to understand. When he discovered that his passes were not being utilised, he went solo,” the coach said.

On Akpeyi, İizilein said he was a ‘silly’ goalkeeper who commits silly mistakes and could not hold the ball firmly.

“A good goalkeeper should be the last to make silly mistakes because he is the last man standing. The team handlers need to do something about him or else,” he stated.

NAN reports that the Super Eagles at the ongoing 32nd edition of AFCON saw off the hard-fighting Burundi with a 77th minute goal from İghalo in her goal ward match.

NAN reports that the tournament had kicked off on Friday with hosts Egypt winning the opening match by a lone goal against Zimbabwe.

The Super Eagles are in Group B with Guinea, Burundi and Madagascar.

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