Chidera Ejuke has expressed his dissatisfaction at being omitted from the squad against Tunisia. The CSKA Moscow winger said it was a strange situation for him.
The Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon was short for the Super Eagles. The three-time champions crashed out in the second round, courtesy of a 1-0 loss to Tunisia. Nigerian fans worldwide were hurt by the loss, as the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia were perhaps one of the worst sides in the competition.
The loss hurt more because the Super Eagles had been identified as one of the most enterprising teams in the competition and tipped to go far.
Many passed the buck of the loss to the goalkeeper Maduka Okoye. Some even accused the referee of bias against the Super Eagles.
With the Super Eagles set to lock horns with the Black Stars of Ghana in March for a place at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) must get it right.
While attention shifts to the World Cup qualifier, a member of the Super Eagles squad to the AFCON is still not over the loss to the Carthage Eagles.
The forward has questioned some of the decisions that led to the loss.
Ejuke disappointed with Tunisia loss
Few expected anything of the Super Eagles ahead of the competition, but their performance against Egypt was astounding. The win galvanized many, with hope in the team rekindled.
Many people expected Chidera Ejuke o shine at the tournament, following his club form ahead of the competition. The winger was, however, left in a helpless situation.
Ejuke has declared disappointment at his role in the tournament, especially the 1-0 loss to Tunisia, where he was not in the matchday squad.
The CSKA Moscow dribbling wizard had done enough at his Russian club to merit an invitation to the team, and Nigerians expected to see plenty of the winger at the tournament. It turned out to be a no-show for the former Heerenveen star as coach Augustine Eguavoen decided to limit his participation in the team. Ejuke believes he could have contributed more to the team, and if the coach had shown some faith in him, perhaps, the Super Eagles would still be in the tournament.
Ejuke’s role in Cameroon
Chidera Ejuke featured in only two of the four matches the Super Eagles played at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. The CSKA Moscow winger was a late substitute against Egypt. He played just 18 minutes of the famous win over the Pharaohs.
Ejuke also saw 57 minutes of action in the 2-0 win over the Djurtus of Guinea-Bissau but was surprisingly absent from the matchday squad in Nigeria’s second-round game against Tunisia.
Ejuke feels he didn’t get enough opportunities to help the team achieve its objectives, but he respects every decision by the coach.
Ejuke told the CSKA Moscow website that he was surprised by his non-inclusion in the matchday squad against Tunisia. He said he didn’t get any explanations for the omission, and he had no conversation with the coach. According to Ejuke, despite knowing that not everyone would make the squad, he was confident that the coach would include him in the team. The winger said it was a strange situation, but he had to accept it.
Ejuke will get another chance to show his worth when the Super Eagles take on Ghana in the upcoming World Cup qualifier.
This article was most recently revised and updated 4 months ago