Pascal has provided insight on the mood in the camp during Nigeria’s difficult moments, how they progressed and what they’re up against next
Super Eagles team coordinator Patrick Pascal has spoken about Nigeria’s hopes to progress to the semi-final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) at the expense of South Africa.
The Eagles ousted the defending champions, Cameroon 3-2 in the Round of 16, but Bafana Bafana will be a totally different test.
“Eagles need to stay focussed ahead of the clash with South Africa,” Pascal told Goal.
“It was unfortunate when we lost 2-0 to them in Uyo in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers but we have evolved since then. It was the reason we were very close to beating them at their home too in the return leg before the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
“The Eagles players became very serious after the loss to Madagascar because they do not want to be disgraced and the only option is to go out and redeem their image the way they did against Cameroon.
“At half-time when we were losing to the Cameroonians everywhere was tense and the dressing room was rowdy but the coach was able to calm them down. He told them to go back and face the Cameroonians squarely without fear.
“He told them it was important they equalise first before talking about the next thing to do. We were able to advise the players and they came out guns blazing in the second half and we were able to win the game.”
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Pascal disclosed the Eagles are aware they must be careful against South Africa.
“We are not going to underrate any team now because of what Benin Republic, Madagascar and South Africa have shown us,” he further added.
“The Benin Republic beat Morocco with 10 men and we are now at a stage that no one can overlook any team. I knew that it wasn’t 100 per cent guaranteed that the hosts would beat South Africa irrespective of how good the Egyptians were in the first round.”