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After shock AFCON ouster, Nigeria now focus on World Cup qualification

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Tunisia forward Wahbi Khazri consoled players on the Nigeria bench after full-time

BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

The road suddenly came to the end for the hitherto high-flying Super Eagles in the on-going Africa Cup of Nations.

Now the president of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju  Pinnick, in a press release announced that the team has put the defeat behind it and is now focussed on World Cup qualifying duels against Ghana.

The two-legged matches come up in just two months’ time.  According to the press release, Pinnick commended the efforts of the Super Eagles despite a 0-1 loss to understrengh Tunisia in their Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 match in Garoua.

“We are proud of the efforts of the players. They gave their all and tried very hard to win even when they had numerical disadvantage. It was just not our day.

“I want to thank His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari for his love, support and encouragement to the team while they were in the championship.

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“I also praise the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare for his interest and attention in the progress of the team. Losing at this stage is painful but we take solace in the great spirit with which the team approached its four matches in Cameroon, out of which it won three.

“The focus and attention will now shift to the FIFA World Cup qualifying play-off against Ghana in March. We want to assure Nigerians that we will prepare even harder for those two matches to get the job done.”

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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