Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick at the weekend blamed the country’s defeat by Benin Republic in the first leg of their 2018 CHAN qualifier in Cotonou on poor officiating and carelessness.
Pinnick was among the Nigerian officials at the Stad d’Amitie to watch Benin Republic beat Super Eagles’ home-based team 1-0 courtesy of a late minute penalty awarded to the home team by the Algerian referee, Mustapha Ghorbal.
Threatening to report Ghorbal to the appropriate authority, Pinnick, who also said the Nigerian side did not deserve to win the game due to their attitude in front of goal, added, “The officiating was very poor and I have notified the authorities concerning it.
“I wasn’t really impressed with our players. I don’t know what happened. They are all very highly rated players, some of the best in our league but to me they didn’t live up to expectations.
“Some of those factors like the officiating must have affected them. But as I said, we will do everything possible in the second leg to make sure we qualify for CHAN.
“I believe we will do our best on the second leg in Kano. But I can say emphatically that the officiating was very poor and the turf too affected our game but we will be able to overcome those two challenges in the next game and qualify. By God’s grace we are going to work hard to make sure we qualify.”
The Super Eagles returned to Nigeria yesterday and were expected to resume training in Kano today ahead of the decisive leg of the tie, which comes up on Saturday.