Sparrow Hawks of Togo hit the Super Eagles 4-1 in Lome on Sunday in a first leg, second-round qualifying match of the 2020 African Nations Championship scheduled for Cameroon.
Sunusi Ibrahim gave Nigeria the lead in the 8th minute before the Togolese trio of Richard Nane (16′ and 67′); Tchakei Marouf (75′); and Agoro Ashraf (90+2′) completed the comeback for the hosts.
Head Coach Imama Amapakabo who arrived at the match venue on a confident note is optimistic that the result of the match at Stade de Kegue would not determine which team qualifies.
He made it clear to the media that his team never underrated the Togolese, but admitted that there is a huge job to be done in the return leg.
“No, we never underrated our opponents. That would have been a foolish thing to do in football. The truth is that we fielded mainly a young team that could not really live up to expectations technically compared to the senior players in the Togolese side who have gained experience over the years.
“However, we have taken this as a learning curve moving forward and awaiting the return match.”
He remains confident that the situation is still redeemable.
“It is wrong to think that this match would determine which team goes through. We know there is a second match and no two games can ever be the same.
From now until October 19, it is still quite some time away to make amends and produce the right form for the work ahead. It is after the match in Nigeria that it can become clear who qualifies,” he said.