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AFCON 2019: Perfect record good, but Super Eagles must score more goals, says Elegbeleye

Abuja – Gbenga Elegbeleye, former Director-General of the National Sports Commission, has urged Super Eagles attackers to score more goals as the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) progresses.

(Top L to R) Nigeria’s goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi, Nigeria’s forward Odion Ighalo, Nigeria’s defender Kenneth Omeruo, Nigeria’s defender William Ekong, Nigeria’s defender Leon Balogun, Nigeria’s defender Chidozie Awaziem, (bottom L to R) Nigeria’s forward Moses Simon, Nigeria’s midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo, Nigeria’s defender Olaoluwa Aina, Nigeria’s forward Ahmed Musa, and Nigeria’s forward Alex Iwobi, pose for a team photo ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match between Nigeria and Guinea at the Alexandria Stadium on June 26 , 2019. (Photo AFP)

Elegbeleye was speaking shortly after Nigeria became the first team to book a place in the round of 16 of the tournament by defeating Guinea 1-0 in Alexandria, Egypt on Wednesday.

Elegbeleye, a former chairman of Ondo State Table Tennis Association, said while the group stage could be about points, goal scoring was essential at the knock-out stage.

“We need to score more goals. Our attackers should do more to ensure that we score more goals.

“We are getting to the stage where your ability to outscore your opponent will determine your survival.

“Credit to the boys for their effort but you saw how difficult it was to penetrate the Guinean defence,” Elegbeleye said.

The former member of the Ministerial Committee on Reform of Football Administration in Nigeria however congratulated the Super Eagles for getting the job done.

“I congratulate Nigerians and I feel that the victory was a good one.

“We have secured a place in the second round with a game to spare, so the Super Eagles got the job done.

“It was not a perfect match but it was practical. We needed three points and that was what we got,” he said.

A 73rd minute strike by defender Kenneth Omeruo off Simon Moses’ corner kick secured another narrow win for the Super Eagles.

The victory places Nigeria on top of Group B with six points from two matches, while Guinea and Madagascar have one point each.

NAN reports that much of the pre-match talking point was the omission of Captain Mikel Obi and inclusion of striker Odion Ighalo in the starting lineup.

But Elegbeleye believed that coach Gernot Rohr made the right decision.

Winning first match is key —Rohr(Opens in a new browser tab)

“Ighalo came in as a substitute and scored against Burundi, so he deserved a place in the game against Guinea.

“Much has been said about Mikel’s exclusion from the starting lineup, but playing Iwobi in central midfield means that Mikel cannot start.

“Remember, Iwobi operated from the wing for the better part of the last match against Burundi. So, the coach made the right decision,” Elegbeleye said.

Nigeria’s final group game is against Madagascar on Sunday, June 30. (NAN)

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