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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Nigeria coach Eguavoen under pressure to win title

2:51 PM GMT+8 07/01/2022
Augustine Eguavoen
The Super Eagles arrived in Cameroon on Wednesday with the hope of claiming their fourth continental crown

Nigeria interim coach Austin Eguavoen said he is under pressure to win the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Super Eagles are yet to win the African football fiesta since 2013 when they defeated Burkina Faso 1-0 in a final game in South Africa.

In 2019, they finished third behind Senegal and eventual winners Algeria but they now have their eyes on the prize in Cameroon.

Ahead of their opening Group D game against Egypt on Tuesday, the 1994 Afcon winner – who replaced Gernot Rohr in December as an interim coach – revealed that tipping the Super Eagles as favourites for the trophy is a challenge for him.

“It spurs us but also put us under a bit of pressure, even if it is Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte, Pep Guardiola, Gernot Rohr, you can’t say you are not under pressure,” Eguavoen told NFF TV, when asked about reception Nigeria got on arrival in Garoua on Wednesday night.

“It’s like Manchester City, probably one of the best teams right now, playing the best brand of football. Guardiola is one coach that I adore, I like other coaches as well but his approach is very different but he has not been able to win the Champions League with City.

“So you cannot say he is not under pressure, he wants to win it. So people are saying yes they expect Nigeria to win the Afcon, that puts me under some pressure.

“I will take it and then we will take it game after game. It’s not going to be easy because every team that has come here, has come to prove a point and the first game is very crucial for any team as that will give you a lot of encouragement going into the tournament proper.

“So I will say a little bit of pressure but I think I’m more relaxed now than two weeks or a week ago.”

Before Tuesday's showdown against the Pharaohs at Roumde Adjia Stadium, Nigeria are scheduled to play Cameroonian club Coton Sport in a closed door friendly match on Friday.