Super Eagles lacked experience at 2021 AFCON – Onazi

Al-Adalah of Saudi Arabia midfielder, Ogenyi Onazi says the Super Eagles squad to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) was talented but lacked the required experience to save them from elimination.

The three-time African champions under the guidance of Coach Augustine Eguavoen breezed through Group D, following victories over Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau and were related favourites for the round of 16 clash against Tunisia.

READ ALSO | 2021 AFCON: Tunisia outsmarted Super Eagles – Okocha

However, the unexpected happened as the 10-man Super Eagles lost 1-0 to the Carthage Eagles courtesy a long range strike from  Youssef Msakni which swerved past Maduka Okoye in goal.

Speaking exclusively with SportingLife, Onazi said: “Well, we have a lot of talented players in the team but any team that does not work with their experience players then they will always be problem. 

“When you look at the big countries they have experienced players who have been together for years, because experience, you don’t buy it from the market and that same experience that is what you transmit to the young ones.

“I said it before when I had an interview after our game against Egypt that Nigerians should not start shouting because we are just in the group stage, where matters is the knockout stage when you cross through then we will start to think about how we will get to the finals. 

“I think some little technical decisions was needed on that last game because a little experience would have just made us take the day for me. Also, as I’ve said previously, it is always easy to make corrections after the game because then you will know and see what went wrong if asked. Our heads up let’s look out for the World Cup qualifiers.”

Asked if the Super Eagles missed the trio of Leon Balogun, Victor Osimhen and Odion Ighalo, he replied: “We didn’t lose because they were not there because its a collective effort but for sure, we needed their experience in the team.”

Nigeria will now switch attention to the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying play-off against Ghana in March.

Fixtures 1st Leg 2nd Leg

Egypt vs Senegal March 24-26 March 27-29

Cameroon vs Algeria March 24-26 March 27-29

Ghana vs Nigeria March 24-26 March 27-29

DR Congo vs Morocco March 24-26 March 27-29

Mali vs Tunisia March 24-26 March 27-29

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