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Nigeria underestimated Madagascar, says Okpala 


Madagascar’s forward Charles Andriamahitsinoro (L) scores his team’s second goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Group B football match between Madagascar and Nigeria at the Alexandria Stadium on June 30, 2019. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

Former Super Eagles Assistant Coach, Sylvanus Okpala believes Madagascar defeated Super Eagles 2-0 yesterday because Nigeria underestimated their opponents.

He said that the Eagles technical crew and players did not prepare well to battle a Madagascar team that has not lost any game at the group stage of the AFCON.

Okpala said the Nigerian side’s inability to use free kicks and corner kicks accurately when it mattered most also affected the team’s chances of scoring against Madagascar.

He believes that Madagascar respected the Super Eagles in the last group game, saying they would have scored more goals if they attacked the Nigerians more.

The Rangers of Enugu former coach also said tactical indiscipline and uncoordinated defence aided Madagascar’s victory over Nigeria.

“The Eagles lost against Madagascar because they did not prepare well. This is the kind of embarrassment you get when a team underrates their opponents.

“The Super Eagles have now put themselves in a tight corner based on these mistakes. They will meet the leaders in Cameroon and Ghana group. At this level I believe the players have to raise the standard of their game to win their next game.

“The round of 16 game is next Saturday. So the team has enough time to prepare well. Eagles should see the loss as a lesson to correct their mistakes. They should forget the loss and focus on their next game,” he said.

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