The failure to qualify mirrored the disappointment when Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2012 tournament hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.The scorer of Nigeria’s two goals, Sone Aluko, said the whole team was devastated.“I am disappointed, everybody is disappointed,” said the Hull City forward. “We did not get the result we wanted and we now have to pick ourselves up as a team.”Out-of-contract coach Stephen Keshi blamed his players for taking South Africa too lightly in a match they needed to win to qualify for the tournament finals, to be held in Equatorial Guinea.“Maybe we took South Africa for granted and we paid dearly for this,” said the coach, who was only reinstated to his post last month after being sacked by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).The NFF said in a statement that they would shoulder the blame but believed the country would bounce back from the setback.“The NFF takes full responsibility for what has happened,” said the body’s president, Amaju Pinnick. “It is a tragedy for us to come so near and yet fail to reach the finals.“We made so much effort and sacrifice in Congo to achieve the victory we needed there on Saturday and really had no business bungling it here.“This is a disappointment but for us, we gave it our best shot and supported the team fully. This is a dark moment but we will emerge into sunshine shortly.”Former Nigeria skipper Segun Odegbami said he was shocked and that South Africa, who had a poor head-to-head record against Nigeria, must now be taken a lot more seriously.“We have always taken South Africa for granted, believing we can have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but they have now shown us that this is an end of era,” he said.Abuja-based sports journalist Michael Obasi said the failure to qualify was a sign that there needed to be changes made in the Super Eagles.“The players let a whole country down in front of their fans, just as was the case in 2011 when we also failed to qualify for the 2012 Nations Cup,” he said.“We should now do away with this generation of players. We need hungrier and more committed players to represent Nigeria.“Keshi should also bow out of the national team. His best was not good enough.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000ABUJA, November 20- African champions Nigeria were reeling on Thursday after they failed to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations to defend their title.The Super Eagles finished a disappointing third in Group A on eight points despite a 2-2 draw against South Africa on Wednesday night in the southern town of Uyo.
PEP TALK Getty Images – Getty 3 Watford now travel to high-flying Leicester on Wednesday, by which time they appear likely to have their third permanent manager of the season in the dugout.Sanchez Flores becomes the third Premier League manager to the sacked in less than two weeks following the departures of Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham and Unai Emery at Arsenal. LIVING THE DREAM Watford have sacked their manager Quique Sanchez Flores, 85 days after he returned to the club.In early September, the Hornets dismissed Javi Gracia owing to their poor start to the season and reappointed Sanchez Flores in his place. LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS Chelsea fan arrested for allegedly racially abusing Heung-min Son SAY THAT AGAIN? appointed Ian Holloway thinks Arsenal have made a mistake in hiring Mikel Arteta deals ‘Are you ready for this?’ – Souness in rare praise of returning Paul Pogba update 3 Liverpool transfer news live: Mbappe latest, Lille star wants to join Reds in future The Spaniard previously led the club in 2015/16 and hoped to bring positive results back to Vicarage Road, however things have not improved hence the decision to restructure once again.The change comes after Watford’s 2-1 defeat at fellow strugglers Southampton, which ensured they remained rock bottom of the Premier League with just eight points from 14 matches.Watford chairman and chief executive Scott Duxbury said in a statement: “Quique is a man of great integrity and it was clear how much he wanted to have a positive impact, but ultimately results have dictated our decision.“The appointment of a new head coach is imminent and, with nearly two-thirds of the season remaining, we will provide all the support necessary to make the coming months successful.” Getty Images – Getty Watford’s form in 2019 has been woeful Pep Guardiola gives Man City injury update and talks Christmas schedule Kevin De Bruyne ‘loves Man City and wants to keep winning’, reveals father Quique Sanchez Flores was unable to turn fortunes around at Watford Man United transfer news live: £17m bid for Barca wonderkid, English starlet linked MIKEL TALKS Arteta confirms Ljungberg’s role, discusses transfer plans and Mesut Ozil rookie error Steve Round reveals how Mikel Arteta convinced him to join Arsenal staff Watford said they would make no further comment until the appointment of a new head coach, with former Brighton boss Chris Hughton the favourite to take the role.Sanchez Flores only returned for his second spell in charge at Vicarage Road on September 7.His first game saw a point gained from a 2-2 draw with Arsenal, but this was swiftly followed by an 8-0 thumping at the hands of Manchester City.October’s draw at Tottenham and November’s win at Norwich were positive moments, though defeats to Everton, Chelsea, Burnley and now Southampton ultimately cost the 54-year-old his job. latest Spurs investigation into alleged racial abuse of Rudiger is so far ‘inconclusive’ 3 statement Chris Hughton is the big favourite to take over Getty Images – Getty