A top official of the Nigerian Union in South Africa on Thursday said the community was proud of the Super Eagles, in spite of their 1-4 defeat by the Black Stars of Ghana.
The union’s President Ikechukwu Anyaene told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Bloemfontein that the players performed creditably in the ongoing African Nations Championship (CHAN) to make Nigeria proud.
He added that the players displayed character and composure for a team that was participating in a competition of the magnitude of CHAN for the first time ever.
The Super Eagles were edged out 1-4 by their West African rivals in a penalty shootout after the two teams had battled to a goalless draw in regulation and extra-times.
The resultant penalty shootout saw the Black Stars converting four of their kicks, while the Eagles could only score one of theirs.
“Our team played very well; though they lost, they represented the country very well.
“I strongly believe that the team will win the bronze medal on Saturday in Cape Town,’’ he said.
On his assessment of the Coach Stephen Keshi led-technical crew, the president of the Nigerian union said that the coach performed brilliantly on the job.
“Keshi has proved himself beyond every doubt; we knew where we were before he took on the job as the national team coach.
“Between then and now, he has changed the face of our football.
“Keshi is a great coach and we are very proud of him, we are proud of what he is doing; and we hope that he will continue to do well,’’ Anyaene added.
In the same vein, Judith Nnamdi, a Nigerian caterer residing in Bloemfontein, said the Eagles should not feel disappointed by the defeat.
Judith, who usually catered to the culinary preferences of Nigerians residing in Bloemfontein, said that the players’ efforts at the pulsating encounter was well appreciated.
“Our boys tried their very best to win the match, but the penalty kicks ended in favour of their opponents.
“That’s why we lost the game and I hope that next time we will perform better.
“We came out in our thousands to support the team, the association of Nigerian wives came out in full force to support the team but it was not our day to win,’’ the caterer said.
Meanwhile, Siphiwe Ghanou, an officer with the South African Police Service (SARS), told NAN that the Ghana Black Stars had avenged the humiliating defeat that the Eagles had inflicted on Bafana Bafana.
“As the saying goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend; and as such we had to cheer the Black Stars to victory; and we South Africans are very happy with Nigeria’s defeat.
“We will also support Zimbabwe in the third place match on Saturday because they are our next door neighbours,’’ the policeman said.