Sparrow Hawks defeat home-based Eagles 4-1 in Lome
Nigeria’s dream of playing in its second consecutive African Nations Championship (CHAN) next year got a rude dent yesterday in Lome, where the Sparrow Hawks dealt a 4-1 blow on the Eagles.
The Eagles were expected to get a good result at Stade de Kégué in Lomé, but they led for just six minutes in the game watched by a sizeable number of Nigerians based in Lome and its environs.
Nigeria scored in the 10th minute through Ibrahim Sunusi, but they conceded the equaliser in the 16th with Yendoutie Richard Nana scoring for Togo to end the first half 1-1.
On resumption, the Sparrow Hawks went haywire, scoring three goals in 25 minutes, including a penalty, to make qualification for the CHAN through the second leg a daunting task.
Nane completed his brace in the 67th minute before Tchakei Marouf (75th minute) and Ashraf Agoro late on gave the Togolese a good cushion before the second leg slated for next month.
Speaking after the game, CHAN Eagles Head Coach, Imama Amapakabo said yesterday’s result would not determine which team qualifies.
He said his team never underrated the Togolese, but admitted that there was a huge job to be done in the return leg.
“No, we never underrated our opponents. That would have been a foolish thing to do in football. The truth is that we fielded mainly a young team that could not really live up to expectations technically compared to the senior players in the Togolese side who have gained experience over the years.
“However, we have taken this as a learning curve moving forward and awaiting the return match.”
He remained confident that the situation was still redeemable.
“It is wrong to think that this match would determine which team goes through. We know there is a second match and no two games can ever be the same. From now until October 19, it is still quite some time away to make amends and produce the right form for the work ahead. It is after the match in Nigeria that it can become clear who qualifies,” he said.