Eagles dismiss match-fixing allegation in Senegal, Corsica friendlies

L-R Daniel Akpeyi ,Ahmed Musa ,Kelechi Iheanacho , Kenneth Omeruo of Nigeria during International Friendly match between Nigeria against Senegal at The Hive, Barnet FC on 23rd March 2017 (Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

• Players getting ready for Togo game

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has dismissed insinuations that the results of the Super Eagles international friendly games against Senegal and Corsica were pre-determined before the teams stepped onto the pitch.

Nigeria has been playing a series of friendly games to prepare the Super Eagles for a Cameroun 2019 African Nations Cup qualifier against South Africa this month and back-to-back Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Cameroun in August.

Following the outcome of the two friendly games in which Nigeria came from a goal down to make scores 1-1, there have been insinuations the matches ended the way officials of the countries involved wanted.

Speaking with The Guardian from France yesterday, Super Eagles’ Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye said there was not much at stake to warrant that sort of arrangement, adding that the matches were organised just to give the Super Eagles’ coaches the opportunity to assess the new players in the team.

Ibitoye wondered why people see only the negatives from the efforts of their compatriots, adding, “It is not right for some people to have such idea. The result of the Eagles friendlies should not be the main focus now… our target is to support the coaches to select a quality squad to battle the South Africans in the AFCON qualifier.

“The Eagles have been winning other matches before now so the outcome of the friendlies should not cause any friction. The Eagles coaches are working hard to assemble a formidable squad that will contend favourably with the South Africans and here we have some people occupied with negativity.”

Ibitoye maintained that the Gernot Rohr-led technical crew was poised to redeem the image of the Super Eagles by qualifying Nigeria for the 2019 African Nations Cup and 2018 World Cup, adding that it would not augur well for the team if they resort to foul play in the build up to the matches.

The Super Eagles had their second training session in Paris ahead of their next friendly game against ‎Togo yesterday with only 16 players, including the two goalkeepers involved in the sessions.Leicester City forward, Ahmed Musa is out injured after picking up a knock in Friday’s friendly against Corsica, which ended 1-1.

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