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WC Qualification Africa

Eguavoen 'still one of the good coaches in Nigeria', wants to take charge of Super Eagles again

4:43 AM EDT 4/5/22
Augustine Eguavoen, coach of Nigeria during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals.
The 56-year-old explains why he feels he remains a good coach and his desire to handle the national side again despite a World Cup failure

Former Nigeria interim coach Augustine Eguavoen has stated his readiness to take up the Super Eagles job again just a week after he stepped down following his failure to take the team to the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.

The 56-year-old resigned immediately after the Super Eagles battled to a 1-1 draw against Ghana in Abuja and missed out on the World Cup ticket on the away goal rule.

The two teams had played out a 0-0 draw in the first meeting of the play-offs in Kumasi and in the return leg, it was Ghana who had the last laugh as the 1-1 draw was enough to take them to Qatar.

Eguavoen has stated he remains one of the best coaches in Nigeria and he 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 during SuperSports’ Monday Night Football programme, as quoted by Punch.

“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.”

Eguavoen also believes his players lacked the character to beat Ghana in the return leg and thinks that is the main reason they missed out on qualification.

“We lacked the character, zeal to beat Ghana when it mattered most,” Eguavoen continued.

“The Ghanaians showed they wanted it more than our boys and that was why it ended that way. We didn’t do any of that. We did not fight or push enough for the winner and how do you do that?

“It is with fast-paced football, creating chances but that didn’t happen. In Kumasi, the Ghanaians were better but in Abuja, the Eagles were the better side but could not win.”

Eguavoen has further refused to label himself as a failure, insisting he did not lose to Ghana.

“The games between Ghana and Nigeria are always very difficult. If we had lost in Kumasi or in Abuja, I would have regarded myself as a failure but we lost on away goals,” added Eguavoen.

“We didn’t lose the game but we lost the ticket to qualify for the World Cup.”

On whether he was fired by Nigeria Football Association or it was his decision to step down, Eguavoen said: “After the game, there were lots of emotions running through and after 48 hours I wrote to the NFF thanking them for the opportunity they gave me to lead the team.

“The target was to qualify for the World Cup but we did not achieve that, hence I stepped down and went back to my office as Technical Director of the NFF.”