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Why Eguavoen is the ideal interim Super Eagles boss

Why Eguavoen is the ideal interim Super Eagles boss
December 13
19:27 2021

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) parted company with Gernot Rohr on Sunday after over five years in charge of the Super Eagles.

Ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), the job has been handed to Augustine Eguavoen on an interim basis.

He will work with Salisu Yusuf (chief coach); Paul Aigbogun (assistant coach); Joseph Yobo (assistant coach); Terry Eguaoje (assistant coach) and Aloysius Agu (goalkeeper trainer).

Eguavoen, who enjoyed a storied career as a player, began his sojourn on the pitch with ACB Lagos. Some impressive performances gained him a move to Gent in 1986. He went on to play for K.V. Kortrijk, CD Ourense, Sacramento Scorpions and finished his career in Malta with Sliema Wanderers.

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The former Torpedo Moscow defender has guided the team in the past, winning the AFCON bronze medal in 2006.

That experience, and the continuity that comes with developing a strong side with tournament experience, is vital to the health and success of the senior national team.

The coaching setup is just as important. Next January, Eguavoen will lead a Nigerian team into a major tournament for the second time.

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An intelligent player whose reading of the game and poise with the media made him a natural for management, Cerezo, as he is fondly called, has developed a real stature as a gaffer.

Come the tournament proper, the squad could be augmented by the likes of Kelechi Nwakali, Ademola Lookman, Victor Moses and Ovie Ejaria.

If Cerezo is in charge of the senior squad by then, the years of development and bonding between players and management should mean a relatively settled side and playing style.

Salisu Yusuf’s experience of handling fiery dressing rooms will come to bear in his work with the young Nigerian team, while his work as a Super Eagles B coach is widely respected.

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Both have complementary experience and personalities and should be groomed now for the top jobs.

Why was Gernot Rohr sacked?

With 28 days to the 33rd AFCON in Cameroon, the NFF severed ties with the Franco-German tactician.

Rohr, who became the manager of the Eagles in August 2016, often came under fire over his decisions on and off the pitch.

The competence of the 68-year-old was questioned on several occasions as most believed that he lacks the skills to manage one of Africa’s top footballing sides.

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Recent performances of the Super Eagles have also not helped his case.

The team squandered a four-goal lead against Sierra Leone to end up with a 4-4 draw in the AFCON qualification series in November 2021 at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City, Edo state.

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Rohr’s boys also failed to also beat the Central African Republic (CAR) as the visitors pipped the Eagles 1-0 in their third World Cup qualifying game at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

Despite being the country’s longest-serving coach, Rohr failed to harness the array of fine players that the nation can boast of.

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Despite the talented bunch of players at his disposal, the Super Eagles were unable to hit the expected heights as a team.

During his tenure with the three-time African champions, the team could not be identified with a particular style of play and also ceased to be a force in the continent.

His inability to make the in-game difference when the team needed it most was another contributory factor that led to his sack.

In his five and half years sojourn with the Eagles, Rohr was able to qualify the team for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

He also led the country to a third-place finish at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.

But it was not enough for a country that constantly demands the best from its top football team — the Super Eagles

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