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Eagles to know round of 16 opponents today

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PHOTO: Giuseppe CACACE / AFP

• We will be ready for second round, says Ighalo
After surrendering their group leadership to the lowly-rated Madagascar on Sunday, players and officials of the Super Eagles are now in a waiting game for their round of 16 opponent later today

A draw against the Indian Ocean team at the Alexandria Stadium on Sunday would have saved Nigeria from the stress of facing a tough opponent in Saturday’s round of 16 tie to be decided here in Alexandria.

After the defeat to Madagascar, many Nigerians went back to the usual permutation of if and if, with majority coming to a conclusion that the Eagles will face the Black Stars of Ghana.

But Super Eagles Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye told The Guardian yesterday that they would know their round of 16 opponent today.

Meanwhile, some members of the supporters’ club in Alexandria have resorted to prayers and fasting for the Eagles to get a weaker opponent in the round of 16.

Those who spoke with The Guardian yesterday said it might be suicidal for the Eagles to clash with the more physical Ghana Black Stars at this early stage of the competition.

“I don’t want us to meet Ghana at this early stage of the completion because the Ghanaians look more physical than our players. We are really praying against such fixture right now,” the supporters’ club member said.

Meanwhile, Super Eagles striker, Odion Ighalo said the defeat to Madagascar is a wake up call to the team.

“I think this is a wake up call for us. Today, we played very poorly. We were relaxed and our mentality was not very good.

“Probably it is because we were already qualified but this game has shown us that there is no easy team in this competition. We have to go back, regroup and ensure we do well for the next game which is a match with no room for mistakes.”

On his part, Super Eagles Coach, Gernot Rohr said the team lost to a good team because Madagascar was the first to qualify for the tournament and there was no shame in losing to such a team.

“Madagascar was the better team today. We started with giving them a gift and after, we could not find a solution. We made five changes because we wanted to give rest to some players and also preserve those with cards. Sometimes it happens when you are already qualified; the players are relaxed and playing easy.”


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