Former Nigeria player Ifeanyi Udeze has blamed former interim coach Augustine Eguavoen for the Super Eagles’ failure to reach the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.
The Super Eagles were denied qualification on the away goal rule after playing out a 1-1 draw against Ghana in the return leg of the play-offs in Abuja after the first meeting in Kumasi produced a 0-0 result.
The 41-year-old Udeze, who managed 35 appearances for the Super Eagles before retiring, believes Eguavoen was not in full control of the team and that most of the players he called up for the two-legged clash were “to pacify some individuals at the NFF.”
“As much as I want an indigenous coach to be in charge of the Eagles, a foreign coach must be the head,” Udeze said as quoted by Punch.
“Eguavoen was not fully in charge of the Eagles for the World Cup qualifiers because he had said he invited some players to the team to pacify some individuals at the NFF.
“That showed that he did not take full charge of the team. Those that he tried to pacify then where are they now?”
The former defender, who played for a host of clubs in Europe including West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League, has further questioned Eguavoen’s coaching style, especially in the home game against the Black Stars.
“Some of his decisions during the game [versus Ghana] also didn’t show he had enough information about the opponents he was playing [against],” Eguavoen continued.
“I find it very annoying to know that it was an Eagles player that informed the technical crew that the Ghanaian team had switched to a back five at half-time when we introduced Abdullahi Shehu.
“We had a creative player in Akinkunmi Amoo who should have been introduced to help the team from the bench but that did not happen.”
On Tuesday, Eguavoen stated he remains one of the best coaches in Nigeria and will not hesitate to take up the role again “if called to serve the nation” so as to prove his point.
“If there is still an opportunity for me, I will want to coach the Eagles again, but not at this moment, maybe later,” Eguavoen said.
“If I’m called upon to lead the team again, I will definitely take up the job. I’m still one of the good coaches in the country. I can still prove a point it’s just a matter of time. No regrets taking up the job. When you are called to serve the nation I could not refuse them.”