Super Eagles Assistant coaches, Ike Shorunmi and Sylvanus Okpala agreed on one thing while reviewing the international friendly against Peru on Wednesday night and that is the fact that the team that the coaching crew headed by Stephem Keshi is building is gradually coming of age.
“The standard of the Copa America bronze medallists is very high, I must admit and that is why I am happy at the reaction of the players to pressure. No team in the world could hardly play at a higher level than what we saw and we reacted well. It’s a slightly higher level than what we saw against Egypt, now we have to go and use the experience we garnered here to pick the points in our African qualifiers,” said Okpala.
Ike on his part, felt the same way but has words of encouragement for goalie, Chigozie Agbim, who made several excellent saves on the night.
“Agbim proved why he’s the captain of the team and I’m proud to have been associated with such a talented goalkeeper,” the former FC Zurich and Super Eagles first choice goalie declared.
Okpala picked up the gauntlet again, ripping apart the suspect officiating of the Peruvian referee for the encounter.
He accused the referee of awarding suspicious free kicks to the host and allowing them get away with all manner of fouls against the Super Eagles.
“But each time we reacted and tried to play hard against the host the referee was penalising our players and that was why I was so angry and challenged him.”
Okpala at a point during the match got toe to toe with the referee and had to be reprimanded by Keshi during the encounter.
“Its a big lesson for our players and I know that with the type of players here this team will go places, all we want is fair officiating in all our games.”