By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Former Super Eagles Head Coach, Austin Eguavoen, 55, was yesterday announced as the new Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).
He takes over from Bitrus Bewarang whose expired contract was not renewed for another term
‘Cerezo’ as Eguavoen is fondly called since his days as Eagles defender, was due to take over as head coach of giants Stade Malien de Bamako before the NFF ‘coup’ nipped that adventure in Mali in the bud.
Eguavoen is a familiar figure in the country’s senior national team, having coached Super Eagles to 2006 AFCON in Egypt where the team finished third.
He was also an assistant to Lars Lagerback at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and took over briefly from the Swede for two matches late in 2010 before his ex-Eagles teammate Samson Siasia was appointed.
Cerezo also previously coached Bendel Insurance, Sharks FC, Nigeria’s Under-17 team with the like of John Obi Mikel to the cadet World Cup in Finland.
Eguavoen who was part of Nigeria’s ‘Golden Generation’ that won the AFCON 1994 and also qualified Nigeria for her first World Cup appearance at USA ’94, is taking over the Technical Department of the NFF at a time Nigerians have become dissatisfied with the quality of play of Super Eagles under the watch of German coach, Gernot Rohr.
Having played with the team that was adjudged the ‘Most Entertaining’ squad and ranked fifth in the world leading to the Mundial in America, Eguavoen is expected to assist in fashioning a direction for the three-time African champions.
Nigerian fans and pundits were particularly disappointed with the lack of quality in the two matches Eagles played against Algeria and Tunisia in Austria a fortnight ago despite Rohr having clocked four years as Head Coach of the team. He has been experimenting with all manners of players since taking over in 2016.
According to the statement released by the Head of the Communications Department of the NFF, Ademola Olajire, Eguavoen is expected to work with Paul Aigbogun (Deputy Director, Technical & Scouting) and Terry Babatunde Eguaoje (Consultant on Coaching & Development).
Others in the newly constituted Technical Department include; Abdulrafiu Yusuf (Assistant Director, Coaching & Development); Siji Lagunju (Assistant Director, Training & Development) and; Garba Lawal (Chief Technical Officer).
The NFF said the appointments are with immediate effect.