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AFRICA CUP OF NATIONS
After executing his first game of the tournament with maximum result against a crack opponents as the Pharaohs of Egypt, Interim Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Augustine Eguavoen is firmly focused on tomorrow’s AFCON 2021 Group D clash with Sudan.
“I am focused on winning against Sudan for now; I don’t want to think about any record or how we go about our third match. Sudan is in focus now and we have to deal with that, squarely,” Eguavoen fondly called Cerezo in his playing days told NFFTV in Cameroon
Apart from the 4-0 win over the Eagles in 1963 in Accra, Sudan’s 1-0 defeat of Nigeria in an AFCON qualifier in Khartoum in October 2014 was one of the principal reasons for the absence of the green-and-white in the 30th edition of the tournament in Equatorial Guinea seven years ago.
Now, Eguavoen does not want another such upset to happen again. Not after Super Eagles kicked off their campaign with 1-0 defeat of seven-time champions Egypt.
“I am happy with our output against Egypt and especially the way the boys set up and approached the game (against Egypt) the way we agreed was best. Everything worked,” revealed Eguavoen of the game plan that Nigeria executed against the Egyptians.
He admitted to have moved on in his characteristic manner of taking every game as they come.
“We have shifted our focus completely to the next match and it is another day and another team and a different approach. I am happy with the playing personnel that we have got and the way they are ready to give their all,” Eguavoen further stressed.
Cerezo featured for the Nigerian senior team for 11 years between 1987 and 1998, during which he lifted the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994, held aloft the Afro-Asian Cup the following year, played in three AFCON finals (it could have been six but he missed the 1990 finals in Algeria; Nigeria withdrew from the 1996 finals and; was barred from the 1998 competition) and featured at the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cup finals. He won a total of 51 senior caps.
As coach, Eguavoen was assistant to another former captain Christian Chukwu when Nigeria finished third at the 2004 finals in Tunisia, then led the team to win another bronze in Egypt two years later.
He is one of only 15 indigenous coaches to have taken charge of the Senior Men National Team of Nigeria, and also one of the 15 African coaches at these finals in Cameroon.
As Head Coach, the hard-as-nails defender has the most win-record with the Super Eagles, winning nine of his 12 matches in charge between 2005 and 2007, and is one of only three coaches to have steered an African country to the top 10 of the FIFA rankings (the other two being Clemens Westerhof and Egypt’s Hassan Shehata).