Despite the Sparrowhawks’ failed expedition in Cameroon, the midfielder is consoled by the experience garnered from the championship
Richard Nane is disappointed by Togo’s premature exit from the 2021 African Nations Championship, nevertheless, he claims the tournament is an ‘exposure’ for his side.
After five failed attempts to reach the finals, the Sparrowhawks qualified for the biennial African football showpiece for the very first time after displacing 2018 runners-up Nigeria in the final qualifying round.
Zoned against reigning champions Morocco, Rwanda and Uganda in Group C, the West Africans made a stuttering start in Cameroon after losing 1-0 to the Atlas Lions – with Yahya Jabrane’s 27th minute penalty settling the keenly contested affair played inside Douala’s Stade de la Reunification.
They bounced back in their second game by defeating the Cranes 2-1 thanks to Paul Mbowa’s own goal and a beauty from Nane. Needing at least a draw in their last game against the Wasps, they crumbled 3-2 in Limbe to kiss the tourney goodbye.
Even at the setback caused by their inability to reach 2021 Chan’s quarter-final, the 25-year-old who is Togo’s top scorer with two goals is delighted with the experience accrued – which he claims would help his team in future.
“We are sad that the team failed to make it to the knockout stage. But we are glad we have got the exposure playing in our first Chan tournament,” Nane told Caf website.
“This exposure we have picked from playing at Chan will motivate us to work harder to try and qualify for other international tournaments.”
Chan was initially billed to hold in April 2020, but it was shifted to 2021 owing the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, which brought a stop to footballing activities across the globe.
Many had expected a low standard from ongoing competition due to the change in date, but Nane scores it very high while thumbing up Caf and the hosts for good organisation.
“Many teams prepared really well, and they are playing good football,” he added.
Morocco and Rwanda lock horns with Zambia and Guinea respectively for a place in the semi-finals while Togo are expected to commence preparations as soon as possible towards making a second appearance when Algeria host the rest of Africa in 2022.