The much awaited #JollofDerby is nearly upon us so Augustine ‘Cerezo’ Eguavoen does not want to look back at the last AFCON but focus on being positive as his Super Eagles take on the Black Stars of Ghana in the Qatar 2022 WC Play-offs.
The “Interim Technical Adviser” (As he was introduced) was speaking at the Pre-match press conference of the national team held at the team’s Carlton Hotel base, Abuja. “I don’t want to talk about nor think about the last AFCON. It is gone, we have learnt the lessons from it. This matches against Ghana are the focus now and they are too important for one to be looking back.”
The Super Eagles go into this tie without midfield anchor, Wilfred Ndidi but Cerezo does not feel that will be a problem for his team. “I work hard on information. I believe strongly in the fact that everyone invited to the team is good enough to start. I know what to expect from Bonnke and so I trust him well enough to do a good job if he is selected to play.”
Earlier, captain Ahmed Musa told the gathered press horde that “the mood in the camp is very good and confidence is quite high because we are very confident in the group of players we have.” Asked if they understand how difficult the match could be in Kumasi, Nigeria’s leading FIFA World Cup scorer said “I have not played in Ghana previously but I have played at grounds were the fans are very passionate so this will not be a problem for us as a team. We do have the experience.”
The last time Nigeria won a qualifier in Kumasi was in 1983, Stephen Keshi the captain of a new team put together by Festus Onigbinde. How will the players prepare to handle this atmosphere that the Ghanaians have promised to unleash? Troost-Ekong “the good thing about this match is that there is absolutely little need to “ginger” any of our players before the match. Indeed, what we need to do is to make sure we are all calm enough to execute our game on the day.”
Final word to Eguavoen who says this about the tactics they will employ during the game, “We will be positive in everything we do.”