CAN 2008: Angry Nigerians slam Eagles’ performance, want Vogts sacked

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Shocked that a country rated the best in African football has yet to win a match in the current Nations Cup in Ghana, Nigerian fans have expressed total disappointment with the performance of the national team, the Super Eagles, following its barren draw with Mali in their second group B match Friday.

Many fans, who were interviewed here or who participated in to radio and television phone-in programmes, heaped the blame for the Eagles’
poor showing so far on what they call the ”incompetence and technical deficiency” of the team’s 61-year-old German coach, Berti Vogts, and called for his immediate sack.

Local newspapers were also unsparing in their report of the match, with such stinging headlines as ”Super Eagles fail to fly again”
(Independent); ”Nigeria left tottering after draw with Mali”
(Guardian); ”Eagles fail to beat Mali, fate lies with Elephants”
(Punch) and ”Eagles fail to fly against Mali” (The Nation) in Saturday’s papers. Nigeria has so far struggled in the competition, losing 1-nil to Cote d’Ivoire and managing a draw against Mali. The result means the team’s qualification for the next round depends on whether or not Cote d’Ivoire beats Mali and the Eagles win against Benin in their last match on Tuesday.

Nigerian fans are not excited at that prospect, because of what they called the ”silent accord” among the three French speaking teams in the group (Benin, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire). Writing under the headline ”Eagles fumble again, draw with Mali”, the local Sun newspaper said of the scenario for the Eagles’ qualification: ”But it is expected that Mali and Cote d’Ivoire will almost play out an accord draw match to ensure the qualification of both francophone countries.” With Eagles’ qualification not guaranteed, fans said it was time to fire Vogts, who took charge of the team last year on US$50,000 per month. ”This man’s pedigree does not recommend him to a team like Nigeria’s, and I wonder why they signed him up in the first instance,” a distraught fan, Joel Agwu, told PANA.

”Even (Augustine) Eguavoen (Vogts assistant and former Nigerian
international) can do better than this at far less cost,” he said.

Even the Super Eagles players were not spared as, according to a local football website Kickoffnigeria, the bus taking them back to their hotel after the match was attacked by irate fans before the police warded them off.

”Even at the team’s Raybow Hotel, heavily-armed policemen were on duty throughout the night, and no one was allowed near the hotel as a posse of enraged fans threatened to lay siege to the hotel and attack players and officials,” the website reported.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Football Association (NFA) was billed to meet Saturday (today) to deliberate ”on the way forward”, as the Nigerian team faces the possibility of losing out in the first round of the Nations Cup for the first time in 25 years.

Among the issues to be discussed in the fate of Vogts.

CAN 2008  Teams representing 47 countries are split into 12 groups of four. The best team from each group automatically qualifies to take part in the 26th edition of the African Cup of Nations football competition which takes place in Ghana.
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