Leading the Group C table before kick –off of the final matches Tuesday, and only needing a draw to progress to the quarter finals, the Super Eagles lost 0-1 to the Guinea in Rubavu, a result which eliminated Nigeria from the competition designed for home-based footballers.
In his apology, the NFF President, Amaju Pinnick reiterated that the African Nations Championship is “both developmental and preparatory for bigger challenges,” and said without mincing words that the Federation would now shift focus to the qualification race for the bigger Africa Cup of Nations.
“We apologise to Nigerians for the poor outing of the Super Eagles in Rwanda, but we toe the line of CAF which states that CHAN is a developmental and preparatory competition. Of course, as Nigerians, we love to win always, and we feel bad when we don’t.
“For me, it is disappointing that we did not progress. But the NFF will now focus on the 2017 AFCON qualifiers, and start preparations early for the remaining rounds,” Pinnick said.
The Super Eagles have a quick, top-of-the-table double –take against Pharaohs of Egypt in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying race, with the first leg in Nigeria on March 23 and the return leg in Egypt five days later.
In June, the Super Eagles take on Chad in N’Djamena before hosting Tanzania in the final round of matches in September.