Eguavoen equals own AFCON Record, Outsmart ‘Wild Dogs’ as Nigeria pips Guinea-Bissau 2-0

By Harry Awurumibe, Editor-in-Chief, Abuja

History Maker…Super Eagles Interim Head Coach. Austin Cerezo Eguavoen has become the only Super Eagles coach in history to lead the senior national team to win all three first round matches in AFCON.

Super Eagles Interim Manager, Austin Eguavoen is  gradually but steadily etching his name in Nigeria’s football history book by leading Nigeria to win all three group matches for the second time in his coaching career at Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Eguavoen on Wednesday led a second string Nigerian team to beat Guinea-Bissau’s Wild Dogs 2-0 in the last Group D match in the on-going 33rd edition of AFCON in Cameroon played at Stade Roumde Adjia, Garoua. Two second half goals from forward, Sadiq Umar in the 56 minute and  Captain Williams Troost-Ekong in the 75 minute ensured that Super Eagles under Eguavoen recorded 100% win in the first three matches of AFCON  competition.
The last time Super Eagles achieved such record was in 2006 AFCON held in Egypt when the current coach of the team was also incharge of the technical affairs of the team.
Interestingly, Nigeria was paired 16 years ago in Egypt 2006 AFCON in Group D with heavyweights like Ghana, Senegal and newcomers Zimbabwe yet Eguavoen’s team defeated Ghana’s Black Stars 1-0; Teranga Lions of Senegal 2-1 and
Zimbabwe 2-0 in the group stage to make it three wins in three matches.
Nigeria went on to defeat Tunisia in the quarter final 6-5  on penalties after the regulation time had ended 1-1; lost 0-1 to Ivory Coast in the semi final courtesy of Super Star, Didier Drogba goal in the 47 minute of the epic clash but returned to the winning ways in the Third Place match by beating Guinea 1-0 to pick the Bronze Medal in the competition.
The above scenario seems to have been unfolding in Cameroon as the results of the first round matches have shown that  Eguavoen and his team are primed to make a podium finish in 2021 AFCON.
This is event in the way the Super Eagles have prosecuted their first three matches in Garoua even as Eguavoen listened to the voice of reason including tthe opinion of this newspaper to ring a change in the last group match against Guinea- Bissau last Wednesday.
He listened and went ahead to make eight changes to  his line-up with goalkeeper last FIFA World Cup goalkeeper Francis Uzoho and other players who have not tested full action in the two previous matches.

Celebration Time…Super Eagles celebrating one of the two goals scored against the Wild Dogs of Guinea-Bissau in Garoua on Wednesday.

They include defenders Tyronne Ebuehi, Semi Ajayi and Jamilu Collins; midfielders Kelechi Nwakali, Alex Iwobi and Chidera Ejuke as well as forward, Umar Sadiq making their first start of the competition.

Despite the changes, the three-time AFCON winners still dominated  the Wild Dogs of Guinea-Bissau on the day, although they struggled   to carve out  any meaningful goal scoring opportunities especially in the first half.
In the course of the game, Eguavoen still brought in many more players yet to play in the competition to have a taste of the action. They include Henry Onyekuru, Olisa Ndah and Peter Olayinka to make it 11 changes in a 90 minute game which
the Super Eagles still went ahead to win 2-0.
Meanwhile, Coach Eguavoen has stated clearly that the job is done yet, pointing out that the team is taking the match one at a time.
Speaking to reporters shortly after the victory over Guinea-Bissau in Garoua, the coach insists he is not carried away by the victories in the first three matches.
Said he: “We are focused on the job at hand. I am happy we have a good team and the performance of the boys against Guinea-Bissau   shows that anyone of the players can play for the team”.

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