By Stephen Asante/ Richard Kankam-Boadu, GNA
Kumasi, June 27, GNA - There have been mixed reaction amongst football fans in Kumasi, capital of the Ashanti Region, following Nigeria’s exit from the on-going FIFA World Cup competition in Russia.
Nigeria’s hope of making it to the one-sixteenth stage of the 21st edition of the competition got blighted as they were defeated 2-1 by a more determined Argentina side at the St. Petersburg Stadium, on Tuesday, June 26.
A late goal by Manchester United defender, Marcos Rojo, sealed the doom of the Super Eagles, the fourth African country to be eliminated from the competition.
Some football fans and connoisseurs in separate interviews with the GNA Sports in Kumasi, had different opinions as to the early exit of the Super Eagles, attributing it to varied factors.
Emmanuel Otuo-Tuffour, a Level-300 Agricultural Student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, blamed the match officials for denying the Super Eagles the opportunity to advance to the next stage of the competition.
“Clearly, Nigeria should have been awarded two penalties in the course of the match”, he insisted, saying such biased officiating had not been helpful to the cause of African countries.
Clement Agyei-Boateng, a resident of Bohyen, indicated that Nigeria ought to take the ultimate responsibility for their defeat.
“For me, the Super Eagles did not show any sign of urgency of winning the game, especially when they equalized Argentina’s lead”, he told the GNA Sports.
Desmond Gyimah, a football analyst, said African countries lacked the mentality to make strong presence at the quadrennial championship due to psychological reasons.
He cited how countries like Ghana, Cameroon and Senegal, all former World Cup quarter finalists once came close to winning the titles, but the lack of mental strength prevented them from making the continent proud.
Many are those who had made various suggestions in relation to how African countries could perform better at the World Cup.
They range from strengthening of the technical teams, player motivation, concentration on the field of play and overcoming inferiority complex.
Gyimah opined that African players needed to be given the requisite psychological mentoring in order to be able to stand their own against the super powers of world football.
More importantly, he said, there was the need to develop football at all levels by stakeholders to churn out outstanding players for the continent just as the Latin Americans.
Senegal is the only African country left in the tournament.
The Terranga Lions will play Colombia in their last group “H” match.