Coach Imama Amapakabo has insisted that the CHAN Eagles could still overturn a 4-1 defeat suffered in Togo to qualify for the 2020 CHAN in Cameroon.
Sunusi Ibrahim gave Nigeria the lead in the eighth minute before the Togolese trio of Richard Nane (16 and 67 minutes); Tchakei Marouf (75 minutes); and Agoro Ashraf (90+2 minutes) completed the comeback for the hosts.
This heavy defeat has left Nigeria with a mountain to climb by the return leg match on October 19.
However, Imama said his team will not give up hope they will qualify for Cameroon 2020 because it is not over yet.
“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,” he maintained.
“It is after the match in Nigeria that it can become clear who qualifies.”
He also insisted they did not take Togo for granted.
“No, we never underrated our opponents. That would have been a foolish thing to do in football,” he argued.
“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.”