Super Eagles interim coach, Austin Eguavoen, says he had sleepless night making his list for the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
The Eagles will face Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau in Group D as the 2021 AFCON will hold from January 9 to February 6, 2022, across five cities in Cameroon.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, Eguavoen said;
“Egypt are seven times winner and they are a team I have played against and coach against at the junior level. I know what they can bring to the table,” Eguavoen told the Nigerian Football Federation TV.
“They are not a team you can push over also every team that has qualified for the AFCON are no pushover. We are going to do everything possible to see how we can actually analyse them individually and collectively and map out a strategy. That’s what you should expect them to do as well.
“Nigeria is a big country and other teams will be planning as well.
“I think I am better as a coach now because every day that counts matters and I have watched many coaches and I have learned because we learn every day. But the thing is your opponents determine how you set up your team. So, it’s going to be a different approach against Egypt and another against Sudan and Guinea Bissau.”
“It was tough coming up with the final list and since I got the news (of taking Eagles to Cameroon) I would say I don’t sleep well because of expectations but I know not everybody wants us to succeed because they are in doubt but we will do everything humanly possible to put a smile on the faces of Nigerians” Eguavoen added.
The 56-year-old also spoke on the team’s chances of winning the AFCON despite his short time with them.
He said, “There is a team on the ground and I think this team is ready to compete anytime they are called upon. The time is quite short and we all know that but every coach has his own style and philosophy.
“With the quality of players we have I don’t think we will struggle but the only thing is there won’t be time for any friendly and that’s when you actually assess your team if they can actually do what you want or what the technical crew want. Be it as it may we just have to do what we need to do.
“The players have what it takes to win the AFCON but the journey of a thousand miles starts with a step and this is exactly what we are going to do. From day one we set up a meeting, we have to face the reality and talk to one another. Talk about where we want to be and about our goals. We are going to work hard to achieve those goals.
“So, I believe we have all it takes to go all the way but we have to take it game after game.”
The Eagles will take on Egypt in their opening game of the tournament on January 11 at the Stade Roumdé Adjia.