Augustine Eguavoen has said the Super Eagles would not underrate any opponent at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
The former Super Eagles defender promised that the team would give every match the seriousness it deserves.
Has Augustine Eguavoen overachieved? It is the question that many are asking. The question comes off the back of a torrid performance during the World Cup qualifiers where the Super Eagles under Gernot Rohr qualified for the final phase laboriously.
The performance of the Super Eagles so far in Cameroon has been heartwarming, with many beginning to see them as the best team in the tournament. Countries like Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal were tournament favourites but have struggled in Cameroon. The struggles of these teams have given impetus to Super Eagles tag as the new favourites to win the trophy.
The team seems to be singing from the same song sheet as Augustine Eguavoen has towed the same line as Glasgow Rangers midfielder Jo Aribo. The Super Eagles coach has declared that no team is a pushover, and the team will play every game with the seriousness it deserves.
No minnows, no pushovers
The Africa Cup of Nations 2021 has shown one thing – every team has to work for what they get. Egypt on Saturday struggled to squeeze out a 1-0 win over Guinea-Bissau, while Sierra Leone came from two goals down to earn a share of the spoils with Cote d’Ivoire and Algeria was stunned by Equatorial Guinea 1-0. It all suggests that the minnows have grown.
The Super Eagles interim coach is not taking anything for granted, as they tackle the Djurtus of Guinea-Bissau at the Roumdé Adjia Stadium, Garoua. Eguavoen has warned that there is no room for relaxing. The warning comes off the back of having qualified from the group as group leaders.
If the Super Eagles can afford to relax, following their qualification, the Djurtus of Guinea-Bissau will come out guns blazing. Only a win over Nigeria can give them a chance of qualifying for the Round of 16.
Eguavoen to allow other players to shine
The Super Eagles amassed six points from their first two games and have a superior head-to-head with Egypt. With qualification in the bag, there is the belief that Augustine Eguavoen will give some of his regulars rest against Guinea-Bissau, while some of the fringe players will take the stage to show how deep the team’s depth is.
Eguavoen said that sustaining the winning mentality is vital while keeping a level head. The coach is unfazed by all the talk of winning the tournament at this stage.
Eguavoen told the players after the game against Egypt that the team is yet to win anything except points. Eguavoen told his wards that Guinea-Bissau needed three points, so they must be prepared for a massive fight.
He said Guinea-Bissau were just unlucky against Egypt and Sudan and were no pushovers. He has warned his boys not to take them for granted.
Augustine Eguavoen is the only man to have led the Super Eagles to three victories in the group stage of AFCON since 1963. He is looking to achieve the feat again when the Super Eagles take on Guinea-Bissau on Wednesday.
This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago