President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and FIFA Council Member, Amaju Melvin Pinnick, says he is happy with the performance of the Super Eagles tour of the United States.
Super Eagles of Nigeria, three-time African champions, played two friendlies against CONCACAF champions Mexico where they lost 2-1 and Ecuador in a 1-0 defeat.
“I am happy and I can tell you that we fulfilled our objectives of restoring the spirit of the Super Eagles following the failure to qualify for the FIFA World Cup. We lost both games against Mexico and Ecuador narrowly, but we were up for it and never finished on the back foot. The boys gave a good account of themselves in both games.
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“Given the number of first-team players that were not available, we have to praise the boys who showed up here and gave their all. They have given us confidence going into the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The despondency is over and we can now march forward in a sure-footed manner.”
The 25,000 –capacity Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey was packed to overflowing as the Ecuadorians started the game in a rampant manner, advertising silky touches and manifesting so much energy and invention. The boys of Gustavo Alfaro are going to their fourth FIFA World Cup finals and were in high spirit as they filed out against the Super Eagles.
The South Americans, who are drawn to play the opening match of this year’s FIFA World Cup finals against hosts Qatar on 21 November, and would also play Senegal and The Netherlands in Group A, scored after only three minutes as Pervis Estupiñán foxed Nigeria’s rearguard to score from an in-swinging free-kick.
Nigeria thought they had a penalty two minutes later when Terem Moffi was fouled in the box as he tried to get on the end of a sweet exchange between Moses Simon and Alex Iwobi, but the referee thought otherwise.
Next up for the Super Eagles is a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying match against Sierra Leone, at the MKO Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Thursday, 9th June.