• Eguavoen faces Simon, Ejuke, Chukwueze dilemma
Players and officials of the Super Eagles have promised to maintain the winning momentum, when they take on Sudan in their second group match tomorrow in Garoua.
The Augustine Eguavoen-led Super Eagles currently top Group D with three points, Sudan and Guinea Bissau have a point each, while the Pharaohs of Egypt are bottom of the group with no point.
The Nigerian players are optimistic of booking a place in the round of 16 by beating Sudan tomorrow. Coach Eguavoen told journalists after the team’s training session that their approach is to take every game as a cup final.
But his assistant, Salisu Yusuf, said he expects the Sudanese to be tough and more physically exerting than the one against Egypt.
Salisu is hopeful that the attitude, commitment, zeal and urgency displayed by the Super Eagles in the first match will be the same in tomorrow’s game.
On his part, Captain Ahmed Musa promised that they won’t rest on their oars because the journey to the trophy is still a long way off, with many hurdles to be scaled along the way.
Meanwhile, Coach Eguavoen says he faced with a ‘sweet problem’ of how to fix three of his best players, Moses Simon, Samuel Chukwueze, in the starting eleven.
In the game against Egypt, Eguavoen started with Simon and Chukwueze on the flanks and later brought in Ejuke to replace Chukwueze on the right flank. This was because Simon was so good that he could not contemplate removing him for Ejuke.
Speaking on his team selection, Eguavoen said: “We know the strength of our players; we know Ejuke is good from the left side, but it was impossible to substitute Simon.
“So, we brought him in for Chukwueze. It was a tactical change and Ejuke had chances to finish the game. Ejuke is more comfortable on the left, so, we will find a way of solving that problem.”
On Sadiq Umar, who was criticized by some pundits for his outing against Egypt, Eguavoen has excuses for the Spain-based lad.
He said: “For Umar, it his first time in such a big stage… he gave me some excuses after the game and we will talk to him later.”
On what he did to turn the Eagles into a fluid and dangerous team with the same set of players that floundered under Gernot Rohr, he said: “Every coach has his style, philosophy and leadership. I told the players to see me as their brother and father. My assistants are my colleagues.
“I reminded everybody that we have a path towards the same direction… we have the privilege to serve the country and we must always give our best.”