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Casablanca massacre: From bronze to a paltry silver

*Humiliated by 4-0 in Casablanca

For many of the members of the Nigerian Super Eagles, they will hold reserved memories of the city of Casablanca for heavily smearing their CHAN championship record with a 4-0 whitewash.

Zakaria Hadraf opened scoring for the North Africans in the 45th minute, before the home-based Super Eagles were reduced to 10 men, after Peter Eneji picked up a second booking.

Olaoluwa AroWalid El Karti ensured the Nigerians had a mountain to climb with the second goal in the 61st minute.

Two minutes later, Hadraf grabbed his second of the night.

Ayoub Kaabi added the fourth.

The Eagles best finish in the competition before this year, is finishing third under Stephen Keshi in 2014.

Making alibi for the coaches, it is a function of starting from the long list of the members of the team with card sanctions and injuries.

Coupled with the team record of frustration of failure to qualify for the first two editions and getting to the semi-finals in the third edition, the Super Eagles achieved their best ever African Nations Championship outing in Morocco, even though the team crumbled miserably 4-0 to the silky skills and superior fire-power of their hosts.

The side which had to contend with missing some starting line-up players to injury and card related issues had their woes compounded having to cope with additional very cold climatic factors and wet pitch.

After what looked as plans to absorb pressure from their hosts by holding them to a first half draw to make them become jittery and uncoordinated in the second half, the Nigerian team had to concede a last minute first half goal that propelled the Moroccans’ confidence in the second half.

It was in similar manner that the team conceded a late first half goal with which Guinea eliminated the Super Eagles two years ago in Rwanda. As it turned out to be, the second half was such an appalling long tenure longer than 45 minutes. The team conceded three goals and had to play one man short following the expulsion of Eneji Moses.

Despite the heavy loss, one still needs to commend the heroics of goalkeeper Dele Ajiboye whose defenders were usually caught flat footed as if they attended BBNaija Big Brother’s party the night before with housemates.

Morocco which had been honour-starved despite the country’s stature in African football, became the first country to win the championship as hosts. Casablanca brought the good luck for the national team watched by their 14-year old Crown Prince.

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