Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr has praised the Super Eagles’ performance despite a 4 – 0 defeat by hosts Morocco in the 2018 African Nations Championship final.
Rohr’s assistant Salisu Yusuf led the country to their best – ever finish at the tournament for locally – based players.
“ Personally , I think there were lots of positives out there, far more than what people expected from the team, ” Rohr told BBC Sport in Casablanca.
“ For the group it is good for them at this level , the players can also be proud of what they have done here in Morocco . ”
Nigeria finished third in 2014 and were knocked out of the last tournament in Rwanda at the group stage so Rohr believes the result in Morocco is huge progress.
“ You don ’ t define the overall performance based with the final result , they reached this stage against all odds and deserve nothing but our praise and support, ” said Rohr.
Critics had roundly criticised the team performance and most notably , coach Yusuf ’ s selections in the build up to the final , but Rohr wants to shift focus to the positives.
“ I ’ ve been really impressed and see this as big progress for us , ” he added.