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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: ‘No game comes easy’ – Nigeria’s Eguavoen denies complacency against ‘motivated’ Sudan

13:10 EAT 16/01/2022
Augustine Eguavoen
The Super Eagles handler refuted claims that his team put up a lacklustre performance in their triumph over Burhan Tia’s men

Nigeria coach Augustine Eguavoen has disapproved of claims that the Super Eagles were complacent in Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Sudan at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

The three-time African kings went into the clash as favourites having silenced Egypt 1-0 in their opening match.

After just three minutes against the Falcons of Jediane, the West Africans took the lead through Samuel Chukwueze thanks to an assist from Moses Simon.

Eguavoen’s men doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time as goalkeeper Ali Abu-Eshrein fumbled a ball from Taiwo Awoniyi.

It was the turn of Simon to extend Nigeria’s lead just a minute into the second half.

The 2013 African kings created more opportunities, however, they were unable to capitalise on them.

Burhan Tia’s side reduced the deficit with 20 minutes left to play as Walieldin Khidir scored from the penalty mark following a foul from Ola Aina.

The result sent the Super Eagles into the Round of 16, but some grumbled that they put up a relaxed performance which Eguavoen was quick to dismiss.

“No game comes easy. We knew it was going to be tough and tried as much as possible to be ready for any opponent that comes our way,” the 56-year-old told the media.

“What we say this evening [Saturday] was expected. We are excited to have pulled through. It's easier said than done.

“We tried to trump the cards. There are 24 teams at the tournament. Everybody has the chance and that motivated Sudan.

“We watched their game against Guinea-Bissau but today we saw them change. Complacency? I can't really say anything, but we will discuss this [on Sunday].”

Eguavoen – who was part of the 1994 set of Nigeria squad that ruled African in Tunisia – is not oblivious of the support his team has received so far from the people of Garoua.

“I think we performed well. The local here made us possible,” he continued.

“We are brothers and neighbours. We hope to stay here till the next round. I believe wherever we go we will enjoy the support of the locals.”

Nigeria would be hoping to pick up their third win of the ongoing competition when they square up against Guinea Bissau on Wednesday.