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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: ‘Eguavoen gave me freedom’ – Moses Simon aims jibe at ex-Nigeria coach Rohr

17:13 IST 14/01/2022
Moses Simon
The Nantes winger has explained the reason for his splendid performance against Carlos Queiroz’s Pharaohs on Tuesday

Moses Simon has subtly suggested Gernot Rohr played him in the wrong position and didn't give him the freedom to express himself during his time as Nigeria coach.

Under the German tactician, the Nantes FC winger was played on the right wing for the three-time African champions, thus, limiting his effectiveness.

However, he returned to the left flank after Augustine Eguavoen was brought in as an interim replacement for the fired Rohr.

That paid off in the 1-0 triumph over Egypt as his darting runs and blistering skills caused the North Africans’ backline endless problems, especially Akram Tawfik, before he was subbed off due to injury.

Addressing the media ahead of Saturday’s match against Sudan at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua, the 26-year-old said the match against the seven-time African champions remains one of his best while attributing that to Eguavoen’s style of coaching.

“It’s one of my best games over the past two years and you know we changed the coach and we changed tactics,” Simon said.

“Every coach has his own mentality and how he impacts the players. Under the previous one [Rohr], I played strictly to his instructions.

“With the current coach [Eguavoen], he gave me the freedom and allowed us to bring our style of play at club side. That has really helped me a lot.”

Eguavoen echoed to Simon’s statements but insisted he would never allow members of his squad to take advantage of the freedom he has given them.

“We have not done anything differently, it is still the same personnel,” the 56-year-old said.

“It’s about freedom – feel free to express yourself. Like I said during the last press conference, I told them to see me as their father, a friend, a brother and confide in me.

“However, they should not take advantage of me being too gentle. Everyone understands that being gentle.”

Meanwhile, Simon is upbeat about the Super Eagles’ chances of securing another victory against Burhan Tia’s men.

“The mood in the camp is great after our win against Egypt. We are all looking forward to the game against Sudan,” the former Gent and Levante forward added.

“We know Egypt are a top-quality side, but there are no small teams in Africa.”