Super Eagles captain Ahmed Musa has issued a grovelling apology for the manner of the team’s shocking capitulation that saw them bottle a four-goal lead to draw 4-4 with Sierra Leone in a 2021 AFCON qualifier on Friday.
Nigeria had raced to a four goal lead before the half hour mark inside the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin as a brace from Alex Iwobi and further strikes from Victor Osimhen and Samuel Chukwueze put them in cruise control and a win away from a place in Cameroon.
But the visitors pulled one back just before half time and then scored thrice more in the second half to complete a scarcely believable comeback against a shell shocked and rudderless Eagles team which completely wilted in the face of the onslaught from the Leone Stars.
A stunned and bitterly disappointed fanbase took to social media to blast the team’s performance with Eagles manager Gernot Rohr also coming in for strong criticism.
Knowing the effect their shambolic second half performance must be having on the football-mad nation, Musa, whose substitution alongside defender Leon Balogun precipitated Nigeria’s collapse, posted a video after the match apologising to all Nigerians and begging for forgiveness.
Looking sufficiently contrite, Musa owned up to the disastrous performance on behalf of his teammates and vowed to set things right when the teams meet again on Tuesday at the Siaka Stevens Stadium in Freetown.
“Dear Nigerians,” a crestfallen and ashen-faced Musa began. “On behalf of myself, and my teammates, we are really, really sorry for the disappointment of the game tonight.
“We know we made a very big mistake in the game, but there is nothing we can do; that’s football, sometimes we win sometimes we lose.”
The forward who is currently without a club after leaving Saudi side Al-Nassr last month continued: “But we are going to correct our mistakes in the next game. Insha Allah, we are going there, we are doing all our best to make sure we qualify for the AFCON and we know that we can do it.
“On behalf of myself, and my teammates, bwe are very, very sorry for the game tonight but we are gonna make it up.”
Despite the loss, Nigeria still lead Group L with seven points while the Leone Stars are third on two points, one behind second placed Benin Republic who take on bottom side Lesotho in Cotonou on Saturday.