Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr says “there’s no shame” losing to Madagascar after the Eagles lost 2-0 to Madagascar in their final group B game on Sunday at the Africa Cup of Nations ongoing in Egypt.
A goal from Lalaina Nomenjanahary and a deflected free-kick from Carolus Andriamahitsinoro saw debutants Madagascar finish as Group B winners and Rohr admits his side were poor and complacent.
The defeat was the Eagles’ first at the tournament in Egypt and their 20th in 89 AFCON games.
He said in the post-match press conference, “We lost to a good team because Madagascar was the first to qualify for the tournament and there is no shame in losing to such a team”.
“Madagascar was the better team today. We started with giving them (Madagascar) a gift and after, we could not find a solution.
“We made five changes because we wanted to give rest to some players and also preserve those with cards. Sometimes it happens when you are already qualified; the players are relaxed and playing easy.
He added “I wanted to see other players which was why I made five changes and that was perhaps why we were dominated by Madagascar. We have to work hard for the next match because that is more important.
“It’s normal to change the team when one has already qualified. I wanted to rest the team and give others the opportunity to play.
“We misplaced simple passes and were poor perhaps because subconsciously we already were thinking about the next round. We have to do better in our next game.
Rohr believes the Barea stands a good chance of winning the AFCON, noting that he will rather focus more on his team who may face Ghana in the round of 16.
He said, “They (Madagascar) can do it but I have to focus on my team so that we can do better.
“I’m still confident that we can win the tournament because we have our injured players back. Ighalo and Musa completed 90 minutes which should help our rhythm in attack. Also our left-back Collins is back so we have a fit again squad.”
He also explained why the duo Victor Osimhen and Henry Onyekuru are yet to feature at the tournament.
He said, “We had to see other players. We wanted to see the Ikechukwu Ezenwa, John Ogu and also Kalu after his health scare. We cannot change 11 players and the team is also decided by the attitude of players in training which shows who is ready or not.