Nigeria are still reeling in shock and disbelief after the country’s team were shocked 1-0 by lowly-ranked Central African Republic in a 2022 World Cup qualifying match.
It was Nigeria’s first home loss in a World Cup qualifier since October 10, 1981, when they lost 2-0 to Algeria in Lagos.
Substitute Karl Namnganda snatched a late winner to give the Wild Beasts of Central African Republic, ranked 124th in the world by FIFA, a famous victory.
Angry Lagos fans booed the Super Eagles with some even throwing missiles at them at the end of Thursday’s encounter.
Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr said the team are disappointed by the shock defeat and promised changes when both teams clash again Sunday in Douala, Cameroon, in continuation of the qualifying series.
“The players are still disappointed and still can’t understand why we could lose this match,” said the 68-year-old coach, who has been in charge of the team since 2016.
“We dominated possession of the ball, we had several opportunities to score, but we did not score and very often in football, there was a counter and our opponents scored.
“We have to recover, and we have to make some changes in the team.”
President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, described the loss as “a huge shock”, but expressed confidence the team will still qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
Former international Godwin Okpara blamed the team for lacking a winning mentality.
“There was no spirit to win,” he lamented.
“The approach to this game was very poor. We only started chasing the game when we conceded a goal.”
“I still don’t believe we lost to Central African Republic,” added another ex-international Ifeanyi Udeze.
Rohr was the main target of the anger of the fans with some even demanding he be sacked.
“We have an ordinary team with a coach who cannot take us any farther,” said Sunday Okoro, who watched the game at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
“Rohr has over stayed his welcome and he only still has a job because of Amaju Pinnick (president of the Nigeria Football Federation).”
Despite the home loss Nigeria still top Group C with six points from three matches, two points ahead of closest rivals Cape Verde and Central African Republic.
The overall winners of the group will advance to a final playoff to be played on a knockout basis in March 2022 for a spot at the World Cup to be hosted by Qatar from November 2022.