BY KUNLE SOLAJA, MOSHOOD ABIOLA STADIUM, ABUJA
It has never been this bad for the Nigerian national football team. The 0-1 loss to Guinea Bissau is not ordinary, even if it is against one of the lowest ranked African teams.
It is the first time in 42 years that the Nigerian team had lost four matches in a row. It was in 1981 while the then Green Eagles were preparing for the last 1982 World Cup qualifying match against Algeria
In the course of poor run, Nigeria lost 3-0 to Iceland on 22 August 1981, 1-0 to Uganda on 26 September 1981, 2-0 to Algeria on 10 October 1981 in Lagos and 2-1 to Algeria in Constantine on 30 October 1981 in a match that marked the international career of Segun Odegbami.
Forty two years later, there is a repeat of the cycle as Portuguese coach, Jose Peseiro has won just two of his six matches while in charge of the Super Eagles. In one of the matches against Sierra Leone in Abuja nine months ago, his team laboured to rescue a draw before eventually getting the winner just before half time.
In the second half, the team simply went to bed while key players, Goalkeeper Uzoho, Ola Aina and Calvin Bassey got unnecessary yellow cards towards the end of the match to add to an earlier one be Oghenekaro Etebo.
Ahead of the latest disastrous outing, Peseiro was heavily criticised over the calibre of players he had assembled.
The bulk of the players were match rusty having been on the bench for most part of the current season.
At the post match conference, his remark was that his team created many scoring chances that were not utilised. “It is very good luck for Guinea Bissau, and back luck for the Super Eagles”, was his opening remarks.
He argued that sometimes results of that nature do happen in football. “Many times, we tried but we did not score”, he said in barely understandable English as he felt that the Super Eagles could had scored four.
“One match, any team can lose, Guinea was just lucky today”, said Peseiro. For Guinea Bissau coach, Baciro Cande who had been a partner of Peseiro some years back at Sporting Lisbon in Portugal, it was a big score as Mama Samba Balde utilised their only clear chance a the 29th minute.
After the match, the coach spoke of how he had done a background check on the Super Eagles ahead of the clash.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and having watched them play in the previous matches, we knew they love scoring early to destabilize the opponents.
“We made sure we didn’t concede early and we scored a good goal and kept the lead. I am delighted with the players,” Cande said after the match.