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Super Eagles: Five issues Eguavoen must address ahead of Afcon 2021

2:37 AM MYT 14/12/2021
Nigeria's Super Eagles celebrate vs. Liberia
The former Nigeria captain has much to do after taking on a role with big expectations

Augustine Eguavoen has a big task ahead of him following his appointment as the Super Eagles interim manager on Sunday.

Gernot Rohr's last moments with the west African giants were underwhelming and the Franco-German looked out of his depth at times in the face of some very glaring issues.

With Eguavoen likely to lead the Nigerian squad to Afcon, here are five key issues he must begin to address to make his tenure successful and possibly land the role on a permanent basis.



  • Ahmed Musa

    Team selection

    Rohr barely got it right with his team selections as he always called upon the same set of players.

    One particularly aggravating example was his decision to call up Ahmed Musa earlier in the year as the winger was struggling to find a club to keep his career afloat.

    It is no disrespect to the Super Eagles' most capped player and current squad captain, but Rohr could have allowed him to focus on his club career at the time while giving opportunities to younger, hungrier talents.

    Eguavoen must know that form is as important as pedigree, else he will have the same struggles as his predecessor going into Afcon 2021.



  • Super Eagles training

    Squad discipline

    Rumours of player misdemeanour were rife in Rohr's final moments as manager of the Super Eagles.

    One especially damning case reportedly involved captain Musa complaining bitterly to other key figures in the team about how the manager allowed certain players to do as they wished while in the Eagles' camp.

    Eguavoen must nip such behaviour in the bud to build a squad that will have their eye on the prize come January 2022 in Cameroon.



  • Nigeria fans

    Fan interaction

    Rohr was not the best at interacting with fans during his time as the Super Eagles manager.

    Fans have complained about lack of statements from the former Niger manager and even his lack of presence and interaction at Super Eagles meet and greets.

    This could have been due to a number of reasons including Rohr's age and poor coverage from the local media, but Eguavoen must win over the jaded fans with his words first, and then his actions on the pitch.



  • Victor Osimhen

    Team identity

    It is less than four weeks to Afcon 2022 and Eguavoen might not be thinking about establishing a certain style of football with the Super Eagles.

    Signs of a team identity will earn him some points with the fans, which could help translate to a positive atmosphere and possibly better performances on the pitch.

    Rohr could be said to be a pragmatist following his preference of "winning by any means" over a defined playing style.

    However, seeing how it hasn't worked in the past few years, Eguavoen will be taking a big risk ahead of Afcon 2021 if he doesn't figure out how he wants the Super Eagles to play in the upcoming tournament.



  • Plateau United-NPFL

    Proper integration of home-grown players

    While speaking in an interview back in 2017, Rohr famously said Nigeria's best players are abroad.

    “Our best players are playing in Europe,” Rohr said

    “Senegal, who we played against in London, had no local player. The big teams don’t have local players.”

    The Franco-German stuck to that sentiment and only called up a few home-grown players, the last of which was Emmanuel Anayo who moved abroad after his call-up.

    Eguavoen has experience in the Nigerian Professional Football League and fans will be hoping that the interim boss can give some of the country's brightest talents a chance to show what they are made of at some point. This should set a precedent of reserving slots for outstanding home-grown talents should he take this step ahead of the tournament next year.