The president of Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick has expressed his disappointment with the home-based Super Eagles over their loss away at Benin Republic.
The Nigerian team were beaten 1-0 by the Squirrels of Benin in the first leg of their African Nations Championship qualifier in Cotonou on Sunday.
It was in the 89th minute of play that Azeez Aremu fouled Marceline Koukpo inside the penalty area to hand the hosts a chance to grab their first ever win against Nigeria.
Beninoise captain Seibou Mama converted the penalty and put Nigeria trailing ahead of the reverse fixture which determines their qualification for the finals in Kenya.
“I wasn’t really impressed with our players. I don’t know what happened,” Pinnick said after the game. “They’re 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 like I said, we will do everything possible in the second leg to make sure we qualify for CHAN.”
Pinnick, who was present in the Cotonou stadium, expressed his disappointment with the manner Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal handled the game.
“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.
“The officiating was very poor and I have notified the authorities concerning it.”
The Eagles have been camping in Kano ahead of the tie and will host Benin Republic in the reverse fixture next week at the Sani Abacha Stadium in Kano.
The winner of the tie will qualify for the 2018 CHAN which holds between January 11 to February 2 in Kenya.
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