OPINION : EGYPT IS JUST ONE HURDLE SCALED
Jan 12, 2022, 10:55 am275
The fear of Mo Sallah’s destructive potentials against the Super Eagles was one of the reasons Nigerians were not abrasively confident in the build up to the group D opener of the 2021 AFCON in Cameroon.
But not only was Sallah completely kept silent, this was one of the best games ever played by the Eagles in open era against any traditionally dangerous side.
While manager, Austin Eguavoen and his assistants should get due credit for the game plan, its execution and the psychology applied on the boys, the real test and trial for this performance are in the games against Sudan and Guinea Bissau.
In these games, the victory over Egypt is likely to still be intoxicating to make the Eagles forget what happened to them in the hands of Madagascar at the last tournament in 2019.
Against little opponents on paper, is when sometimes the Eagles falter. This can’t be ruled out in the Sudan and Guinea Bissau matches. In this same tournament, today, defending champions and hot title favourites, Algeria, were held to a goalless draw by Sierra Leone.
AFCON 2021 is likely to be lined with landmines of the nature of Algeria/Sierra Leone game.
The win over Egypt is stupendous in that the Eagles were decent, discipline and masterful in all departments. A few years more together, these boys will become a gang. But the bonding has to be made evidently clear in this tournament.
With Ahmed Musa nearing retirement, Troost – Ekong’s captaincy of the team should begin to take position from this AFCON by leading to a respectable finish in Cameroon.
It is unfair to remove the hands of former manager, Gernot Rohr from what happened today against Egypt. He somehow has his spirit in Cameroon. But for a job given to him in less than a month to a major tournament, Eguavoen has again earned more respect from me by this transformation in just two weeks.
Before he hands over to Jose Peseiro as the NFF wants, the soul of an Eagles team Nigerians can be proud of, is in what Eguavoen is able to knock in the next matches at this tournament.
This is why the Egypt game is just one too little to rate the Eagles going forward.
They should finish off Sudan and Guinea Bissau ruthlessly first. Then what happens later becomes part of the vicissitudes of the game
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