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Nigeria’s football coach, Gernot Rohr has allayed fears over the recent trend of his team conceding early goals in the opening gamex of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series.

In the opening game with Benin Republic, Nigeria was already a goal down after barely five minutes. The team fought back later to win 2-1.

Four days later, the tale was the same, as the Super Eagles conceded a goal after 11 minutes in Maseru when they faced Lesotho. They eventually won 4-2.

To Rohr, the end justifies the means. He hailed
his players for showing ability to fight back. Rohr said he saw only the positives whenever his side conceded first.


“Some matches, you score the first goal and in some matches you concede first,” he said.

“We scored first against Brazil and Ukraine but we didn’t win, so I prefer to concede first and win the match.

“This has proven that my players have a good spirit because they never give up.

“They continue to play well and do not panic. We have a very young team and what I like is the enthusiasm to play football.”

He is also full of praises for the Super Eagles for putting up a brave performance despite arriving Maseru a few hours before the game.


“We know that it’s difficult to win in Lesotho especially when you concede the first goal. They played very well in the beginning but we had to take the game in our hands,” Rohr continued.

“We had a long travel by night and you can see that at the beginning, my players were not fully concentrated.

“In the second half, we changed our organisation a little bit and it was better and better. I feel that my players have fun when they play football and that is most important.

“We won but congrats to my colleague, he has a good team they gave us a lot of trouble.”

Having won their two games, Nigeria top Group L with six points. They host Sierra Leone in their next match on August 31, 2020.


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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