Former international Sam Sodje has said Nigeria were stunned by South Africa at home because they left out several experienced players.
South Africa recorded their first-ever official win over the Super Eagles after a 2-0 win in an AFCON 2019 qualifier on Saturday at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo.
Injury ruled out skipper Mikel Obi, Leon Balogun and Carl Ikeme, while Victor Moses is reportedly due for a toe surgery.
The Eagles also overlooked China-based strikers Brown Ideye and Odion Ighalo
The former Portsmouth defender said Eagles coaches led by Gernot Rohr should have opted for more experienced players for a game of such magnitude.
“In my opinion, the coach should have played some experienced players for such important game which he didn’t and as always we need coaching for our players to perform better,” Sodje said.
“It is very shocking to me that we lost to South Africa and really hurtful.”
However, Sodje will still not write off the Eagles from clinching an AFCON 2019 ticket.
“We have made it hard for ourselves to get the ticket, but we are the Super Eagles so it’s always possible to achieve our aims,” he said.
Nigeria have missed out on the last two AFCONs.