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Olympic qualifiers: Eguavoen refuses to give up

By Ben Efe
National Under-23 coach, Austin Eguaveon perhaps, is the only Nigerian who believes the country can still win a ticket to the London 2012 Olympics.

The Nigerian lads will play their last group match against Algeria on Friday and they need a big result and pray that Morocco also dismisses Senegal to stand a chance.

Forlorn as this appears to be, Eguavoen stated after they lost 2-1 to Senegal Tuesday night that it is not yet over for his team.

“We need to pick the last three points and leave the rest to fate. It’s not yet over until it’s over,” Eguaveon enthused.

But this line of thought is not shared by his players who have been drained psychologically. And Eguavoen recognises that there is a lot of work to be done on the boys.

“It’s not so easy, we need to do a lot of psychological work on the boys because many of them think it’s all over. After our second loss many of them started to cry they believe it is all over for us.”

Morocco with 100 percent top the group and they will need a point from Senegal to pull through. How Nigeria intends to beat Algeria who are also desperate for a win remains a puzzle only the team can resolve.

Their last two matches were a nightmarish 90 minutes of viewing for Nigerian fans. There was no team cohesion and game plan. In the game against Senegal, Eguavoen experimented with formations and it backed fired.

“I take responsibility for this result. The game did not go the way we planned because the boys did not keep to instructions in the first half and we have to revert to our usual 4-4-2 formation.”


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