• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Don’t judge Finidi with Mali result — Adepoju


Mutiu Adepoju has come to the defence of Super Eagles interim manager Finidi George following Nigeria’s 2-0 loss to Mali in a recent friendly match.

Amidst criticism surrounding Finidi’s suitability as head coach, Adepoju urged Nigerians not to judge the former international solely based on the outcome of one friendly match.

Despite the defeat against Mali, Adepoju emphasised that Finidi’s record of one win and one loss, including a previous victory against Ghana, is not a poor performance considering he has only been in charge for two games.

The former Ajax star took on the interim role after the departure of Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro, who led the Super Eagles to a second-place finish at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

Adepoju expressed confidence in Finidi’s ability to lead the Super Eagles, highlighting the need for trust and patience in allowing him to build on the team’s foundation.

“With only two games under his Finidi’s belt, his record of one win and one loss is not bad at all,” Adepoju said as quoted by Flashscore.

“He has a lot of room for improvement. I firmly believe that these Super Eagles will prosper under his leadership if he gets the job.”

He stressed that it would be unfair to judge Finidi for losing a game, citing the learning curve and adjustments that come with a new coaching regime.

“It would be a serious mistake to judge Finidi solely on our defeat against Mali. When José Peseiro was the coach of the Super Eagles, did he win every game? Finidi deserves our trust so that he can cultivate the confidence necessary to build on our current base.

“I expect improvements in all aspects of the game. This is a friendly match and the first two matches under Finidi’s direction. I think he has identified the areas that need correction.

“We were victorious against Ghana, but unfortunately we suffered a defeat against Mali. This means that we have achieved a victory in two games, which, in my opinion, is not a bad result for the Super Eagles in general.

Adepoju also acknowledged the team’s improved performance in the second half, despite the loss.

He noted missed scoring opportunities and defensive lapses that led to Mali’s goals, emphasizing the need for improvement and learning from mistakes.
“During the match against Mali, we showed greater possession of the ball in the second half, and the players exhibited more determination.

“Despite creating scoring chances, we failed to take advantage of them. On the contrary, the Malian team made the most of their few opportunities, converting two opportunities into goals.”

He highlighted the absence of key players also played a part, but commended the effort of the players who featured in the match, while also acknowledging areas for improvement.

“The absence of key players like Victor Osimhen and some of our regular players was noticeable.

“However, I would not downplay the contribution of the players we fielded. They put in a commendable performance, but the first goal we conceded against Mali was a costly mistake that should have been avoided. It’s a lesson they must learn.”