Super Eagles refuse to blame SA footballs for defeat

SA footballs
The South African delegation left with their footballs after the match in Uyo

The fall-out from Nigeria's dramatic defeat to South Africa in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday looks set to continue after one player branded the absence of official match balls a "national disgrace".

Bafana Bafana won 2-0 in Uyo to record their first victory over the Super Eagles in a competitive match.

But the game was overshadowed by the use of footballs borrowed from the South African camp.

The Super Eagles turned up at the ground without balls approved by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) because the entire consignment of 250 sent to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is still stuck at a port awaiting clearance.

Nigerian players had been training with footballs from their kit sponsors and only got a feel of the 2017 Caf balls during the pre-match warm-up.

"It's not the reason we lost but we trained with different balls only to use another ball for the game," said one player who requested anonymity.

Another player also speaking on condition he is not named said: "To borrow match balls from your opponent is not only bizarre but embarrassing."

NFF officials have not exactly been forthcoming either on the matter which left them with plenty of egg on their faces.

Back in January Caf sent 250 footballs to Nigeria for use during Champions League, Confederation Cup and international matches.

The balls were apparently sent to the wrong address and the NFF only just discovered the error when tracking the consignment.

"We are working on it now and remain confident that we will get the balls out before the weekend," an official told the BBC.

The NFF tried to use the 2016 match balls in Uyo but both the match commissioner and referee declined.

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