By PHILIPS ADEFIOYE, KATE OBODO
Chief coach of national Under-23 side, Austin Eguavoen says the best legs will be fielded in today’s All Africa Games qualifier against arch rivals, Black Meteors of Ghana at the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium in Benin City.
Eguavoen said the match against Ghana will be a though match but that the team’s mentality was never to underrate any team, pointing out that Ghanaian teams have never been easy whenever Nigerian teams file out against them in all categories.
The former Super Eagles handler said that despite their victory against Tanzania last Saturday, the technical crew and the players are not resting on their oars as he maintained that the match is a must win match and team are doing everything within their power to secure the ticket for the All Africa Games in Mozambique.
“We are going to field the best legs available for the match against Black Meteors of Ghana come Saturday. The match against them will be tougher than the Tanzania game despite the fact that it is an All Africa Games qualifier.
“This is a game that we must win. We are doing everything within our power to secure the ticket for the All Africa Games. Despite the fact that we beat Tanzania 3-0 last Sunday to move to the next stage of the Olympics qualifier, we are not leaving any stone unturned.
“Interestingly the players have promised to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians. It is going to be a tough game no doubt but I want to assure Nigerians that we are fully ready for the encounter”.
Concerning the injured players, the former Enyimba of Aba coach said he hopes some of them recover before the encounter but added that he has some other players as replacements.
“We pray and hope that the injured ones recover before the match, alternatively, I have to invite some other players as replacements, we are into the game with a lot of caution,” said Eguavoen.
… They won’t be easy, Erico warns Eguavoen
As the national Under-23 team trade tackles with their Ghanaian counterparts in the All Africa Games qualifier today in Benin City, former Super Eagles assistant coach Joe Erico has warned them to be careful with the visitors who have a strong soccer rivalry with Nigeria.
The Austin Eguavoen-tutored side last weekend convincingly defeated Tanzania 3-0 win in the Olympic Games qualifier despite heavy down pour that caused the postponement of the game at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium by one day.
According to the former Super Eagles goalkeepers trainer, unlike the Tanzania match, playing against the Ghanaians will not be an easy ride as he urged the team not to underrate them.
“It (Tanzania) was a good game despite the heavy down pour. I thank God they were able to overturn the 1-0 result from the first leg against Tanzania with a 3-0 win as they promised. Playing Ghana is a different ball game. Ghana is not going to be a tea party like the Tanzanians. Ghana is a different team entirely and I do not know if they have beefed up their team, but be that as it may, it is going to be a tough game between both teams.
Continuing Erico said that Eguavoen should ensure the technical aspect of the team is put in order so as not to repeat the mistakes against Tanzania.
“Eguavoen needs to do a lot of work especially on the technical side of the team. A lot of chances were missed, they should ensure that all the mistakes done against Tanzania is rectified if they must succeed,” he said.