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Chukunyere blames the weather for Super Eagles failing to beat Ghana to World Cup qualification

11:07 PM GMT+4 07/04/2022
Leon Balogun, Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon - Nigeria
The former striker states that the weather conditions in Abuja was the key reason the country struggled against the Black Stars

Former Nigeria striker Ndubisi Chukunyere claims the ‘harsh’ weather conditions in Abuja halted the Super Eagles’ ambition to defeat Ghana.

Having settled for a 0-0 draw in the first leg played in the Baba Yara Stadium, the three-time African kings needed a win to secure a 2022 World Cup berth.

Nevertheless, the African classic staged at the MKO Abiola Stadium ended 1-1 with William Troost-Ekong cancelling out Thomas Partey’s opener.

Still saddened over his country missing out on the global football showpiece, the ex-Hibernians goal machine is of the view the showdown should have been played at night - when the weather is cool. 

“I think the weather played a major role in the result against Ghana,” Chukunyere told GOAL.

“Many of our players were affected by that, they got tired quickly and could not move properly.

“If you observe, Calvin Bassey was asking the technical crew to substitute him.”

“This is not about fitness,” he continued. “They are very fit and these guys play under much conducive weather in Europe, but the harsh weather in Abuja affected them so badly. 

“The game could have been played around 8 pm when everywhere is cool. This is one of the things we need to correct in future.”

In the wake of the failed mission to Qatar, Nigeria Football Federation fired the technical crew that boasts Joseph Yobo and Emmanuel Amuneke.

“Do we ever resign in Africa? They will never resign and I don’t expect them to resign,” he added

“I expected them to sack the technical crew of the Super Eagles and they have done just that. We are used to it and there is nothing we can do about it." 

While counting the Super Eagles' losses, he suggests what needs to be done in a bid to bounce back for World Cup 2026.

“Not participating in the World Cup is a step backwards for Nigerian football, but there is nothing we can do about it because the damage has already been done,” affirmed the 42-year-old.

“All we should do is learn from our mistakes, and think about what we can do better and how we can improve from the players down to those in the Nigeria Football Federation. 

“This is not a time to blame anyone because the Super Eagles’ failure is not just because of one person - we all played a role in that. Every stakeholder must now sit up and ensure we avoid a repeat of this disaster.”