Tunisia and Nigeria have one more last chance to impress, or rather console, their compatriots back home after failing to make it to the final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Tunisia, christened the Carthage Eagles, and Nigeria, flying under the Super Eagles nickname, meet on Wednesday in the third-place finals, often named the losers’ match by fans in mockery of falling off with only one step remaining.
The Eagles, the Carthage ones, lost 0-1 to Senegal after stretching each other to a pulsating 90 minutes plus 30 more of extra time last weekend.
Their coach, Alain Giresse, felt that the side was just unfortunate to fall to Senegal and spent much of his pre-match talk mourning.
“Our target was more than just reaching the semifinal,” he mourned “I believe this is going to be a psychologically tough encounter because we are not over that defeat from Senegal yet. I cannot say all our
players are fit after playing two extra times but we will do our best.”
His defender and skipper, Mohamed Drager, however, was optimistic and promised that the team will put their all to win the consolation prize.
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“We were just one step from the final but here we play for the third place. We will try to win the bronze medals. Nigeria is a very strong team but we want to leave with a good memory for us and our supporters,” he said.
On the other hand, Super Eagles bowed out painfully after succumbing to Riyadh Mahrez’s last-minute free kick.
Unlike Giresse, Nigeria’s head coach Gernot Rohr is, so far, content with his team that has perched among the best four and hopes to fly away with the third-best prize.
“We will keep focused in the third-place playoff and hope to sign off with a happy result. Alain Giresse is an experienced coach and I’m always happy to play against him. When you are one of the four best teams in the continent this is a good result and we have to build on it. This is a team with a brilliant future,” Rohr commented.
The game kicks off at 10 PM Ugandan time.