By Victor Okoye
Sierra Leone’s Head Coach, John Kester, says his young squad deserved something from Thursday’s game against Nigeria, even though he is delighted with the performance.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that first-half goals by Alex Iwobi and Victor Osimhen made the difference as the Super Eagles won 2-1 at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.
They struck back after Sierra Leone took a shock early lead in a display that was hardly the most convincing.
The match was a Match Day 1 fixture in Group A of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Qualifying Competition.
Kester later told newsmen that his team gave a good account of themselves and the performance would give the players more confidence ahead of their next match.
“Our goal was to come here and be competitive and to be honest I thought with the group of young players that we had, we deserved something out of the game today.
“That’s no disrespect to Nigeria at all. I just felt we deserved something.
“But then again, the performance will give us a lot more confidence going into our next match and that’s very important,” he said.
The coach said after putting up a good performance against the Super Eagles, he was confident of getting a positive result in their next game.
“Coming into Nigeria and putting in a performance like this, where we felt we could have gotten something out of it, was very impressive.
“So, for us it is progress as it takes us into the next match as well, where we know we hopefully are going to get a result,” he said.
Kester stated that they would go back to the drawing board and correct their mistakes.
“Again, when you talk about bringing young players through a transition period, there is an element always once in a while of loss of concentration.
“We scored the early goal but took our eyes off the ball a little bit at some point and allowed Nigeria back into the game.
“I think that was the turning point for us. But again we had a second goalscoring opportunity and if that had gone in, it could have been a different ball game.
“But of course, we will take a lot of positives from the performance going forward,” he said.
Sierra Leone next host Guinea-Bissau whose campaign in the Group A of the 2023 AFCON qualifiers got off to a flying start on Thursday after a 5-1 demolition of Soa Tomé and Principe. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Olawale Alabi