We learnt great lessons from Eagles’ loss to Mexico, says Ekong
• Set for battle against Ecuador
• Praises home-based players as Dennis joins squad
Super Eagles stand-in captain, William Troost-Ekong, has said that they learnt many lessons from the 1-2 defeat to Mexico last Saturday in an international friendly match in the United States.
Troost-Ekong scored an own goal to give the North Americans their fourth victory in seven games against the Super Eagles after three other encounters ended in a draw. He stated that the lessons from Saturday’s game would be quite useful in subsequent matches.
“We were unhappy to have lost to Mexico because everyone worked very hard. The issues of long travel and little time to adapt to the new zone affected us all in the first half, but we created a raft of chances in the second half and were unlucky to have lost. Nevertheless, we have taken on board a lot of lessons from the game and they will be quite useful in subsequent matches,” Ekong told thenff.com in New Jersey on Monday evening.
He appreciated the four home–based professionals, who were given opportunities in the second half, saying they were tireless and showed composure and confidence against Mexico’s El Tri.
“Everyone has been great here with good attitude and response at training. However, I must specially commend the team mates from the Nigeria Professional Football League who have shown poise, pace and power and also commitment; they have no doubt raised the NPFL’s profile with their attitude and performance,” Ekong stated.
Defender Sani Faisal, midfielder Chiamaka Madu and forwards Victor Mbaoma and Ishaq Rafiu came into the fray in the second period against Mexico on Saturday.
The Super Eagles, who arrived in New Jersey from Dallas on Sunday, have stepped up preparations for their second friendly match with Ecuador tomorrow evening, as well as next month’s AFCON 2023 qualifying matches against Sierra Leone and Mauritius.
According to thenff.com, having divested themselves of procession and environmental issues (long-haul travels and time zone body reaction), the Eagles filed out for full training session at the Montclair State University pitch on Monday, with most of the players showing the usual enthusiasm, energy and sharpness.
Monday’s session was accented on close control, space management and clinical finishing, as Coach José Peseiro supervised proceedings alongside his assistants.
Only defender Olaoluwa Aina, who suffered a knock during the team’s first training session in Dallas, and midfielder Innocent Bonke, who copped a knock in Saturday’s game against the Mexicans, stayed out of the grueling session to do light recovery training of their own.
The Eagles will file out against Ecuador at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison tomorrow evening, as from 8.00 p.m. ET (1.00 a.m. on June 3 in Nigeria).
However, Peseiro says his crew is not losing focus on the AFCON 2023 qualifying games, with the Eagles due to take on the Leone Stars at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Thursday, June 9 before flying to Saint Pierre to take on Mauritius on Monday, June 13.
Meanwhile, Watford forward, Emmanuel Dennis, is the latest star to join the team’s camp. He trained with his mates yesterday and is expected to play some part in the game against Ecuador tomorrow.
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