Golden Eaglets captain, Samson Tijani, has apologised for the team’s elimination at the FIFA U-17 World Cup holding in Brazil.
Nigeria bid bye to the U-17 World Cup in Brazil after losing 3-1 to The Netherlands in their Round of 16 clash in Goiania in the early hours of Wednesday.
The Netherlands forward Sontje Hansen netted a hat-trick to propel the Oranje past Nigeria 3-1 and into the quarter-finals at the tournament.
The Ajax product produced two goals in the opening 15 minutes to put his side in front, and then placed the match out of reach of the Nigerians with his penalty in the 80th minute, after the Video Assistant Referee spotted a handball by Clement Ikenna.
In the 12th minute, Olakunle Olusegun scored Nigeria’s only goal by turning Dutch defender Devyne Rensch with a slick cutback, then fired a low shot from the corner of the penalty area past Oranje goalkeeper Calvin Raatsie.
Reacting to the team’s poor outing, Tijani said the decision of VAR to award a late penalty to the Dutch side affected their push to secure a comeback like they did against Hungary (4-2) and Ecuador (3-2) in their Group B matches.
He said, “We are very sorry. We tried our best but the result was down to hard luck coupled with the fact that our opponents are a very good side.
“Our team had to succumb to the pressure from our opponents, we tried to calm the pressure and we were able to achieve that until the dying minutes when VAR had to suppress us with that penalty.
“That (the penalty) alone weakened our morale and it was already late for a comeback at that minute.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Federation has denied reports that coach Manu Garba has been sacked after the Eaglets’ elimination in Brazil.
The spokesperson for the NFF, Ademola Olajire, told The PUNCH, “It is not true (that we have sacked him). That cannot be true. It will require a board meeting to do that and no board meeting has held on that matter.”