CHAN 2018: Dalung reacts to Nigeria's second-place finish - FCNaija

Super Eagles By: Ayodeji Tunde | 05/02/2018

Nigerians have been urged to take the positives away from the CHAN Super Eagles' second-best performance in Casablanca Morocco. 

Despite losing 0-4 to hosts-Morocco in the final of the 2018 edition of the African Nations Championship played on Sunday, Barrister Solomon Dalung said the Super Eagles had recorded another 'first' in football history.

The Minister of Youth and Sports, who was in Morocco to lend his support to the team and cheer them to victory said the team recorded its best ever outing at the competition with their silver medal winning feat. 

“Coming for this tournament, many Nigerians never gave the team a chance because of the way they prepared and their pessimism about the players in the Nigerian Professional Football League. But   getting to the finals against all odds,  the players proved many critics wrong about the standard of the NPFL which can only get better.”

The Minister lamented the expulsion of Peter Eneji very early in the second half after his second yellow card which played a major role in the final outcome of the game played in a gutsy windy and wet weather.

“It was obvious that our boys were struggling with the weather which was made worse when they were reduced to 10 men. Many of them have not been exposed to such harsh weather conditions before while playing in the NPFL. Experiencing such extreme cold weather really hampered their output during the competition.”

Morocco beat Nigeria to win first CHAN title - FCNaija

However, Dalung enjoined Nigerians to see the team as a work in progress if the vision driving the current League Management Company running the Nigerian league can be sustained.

“The role of better preparation for a tournament cannot be overemphasized. Going by the way the Moroccans played against the Super Eagles, it was evident that they were ready for this and had prepared long enough.

“Our attention must now shift to better preparations for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Mr President has not minced words about his expectation for the World Cup. We are not going there as mere spectators but as contenders. We are going there to make a very bold statement.” 

Dalung also praised the Confederation of African Football for raising the bar of the competition which has continued to showcase hidden and raw talents on the African continent.