Ahead of the FIFA World Cup playoff, Qatar 2022, CAFOnline.com talked to the head coach of Nigeria’s Super Eagles, who captained the Super Eagles to AFCON success in 1994 about what he thinks of leading Nigeria again, and about his opponent which is none other than West African archrivals Ghana.
CAFOnline.com: You have been in charge of the team before. How do you feel being the coach of Nigeria again after your exploits in 2006?
Augustine Eguavoen: If you have an opportunity to coach any national team in the world you’ll definitely be happy, to talk more about the Nigeria senior national team. So I am happy about this opportunity and grateful to the Nigeria Football Federation and the sports minister for their confidence in me to coach this great team.
You led the Super Eagles to the Round of 16 at the Afcon 2021, how much do you remember of the team’s campaign?
I just want to focus on the future rather dwelling in the past, which Cameroon’s AFCON tournament was one. We anticipated a great outcome but due to the pressure, after the first three wins we dropped out. However, the boys definitely put up a very beautiful performance at the AFCON and everyone was happy. With that, I am are there are criticisms but my being saddled with this responsibility again attest to the fact that they are happy with their performances at the AFCON.
Most teams in the playoff hope to avoid Nigeria, did you anticipate meeting an opponent like Ghana and how special is this fixture?
10 teams have qualified for the World Cup playoff, all great teams. All we have as our goal now is to put in all efforts and cross the line, qualify for the World Cup in Qatar. It’s a special game indeed, it’s the final game of the qualifiers, the first and the second leg determines our place in the World Cup in Qatar, but I guarantee we are well prepared, every member of the team is working round the clock as Ghana is not a pushover. They are a very strong team and our matches with them have been explosive, this time, we are bringing the game on again.
Your opponents, the Black Stars of Ghana are also among the best teams on the continent. What would be your strategy against them?
I’ve followed the Ghanaian team for quite a while, very talented and good football players, and there won’t be any much differences in their style of play, but of a mind game, it’s okay if they choose to play that, but I want to assure Nigerians we will fight and work hard to make sure Nigeria fly at the Qatar 2022.
Nigeria has competed at several FIFA World Cups, appearing in all editions since 2010. Are you already looking at creating great memories in Qatar?
Only God knows the future, we only do our best and put in hard work as it pays, put in dedication, the boys are self-motivated. With this, I am sure we will cross the line.
This article was updated 7 months ago