Afcon 2021: Eguavoen not carried away, downplays title favorites tag for Nigeria

Super Eagles set for Sudan war

Nigeria interim head coach Augustine Eguavoen has toned down claims that his team are favorites to win the Cameroon 2021 Africa Cup of Nations title at the end of the tournament.

Eguavoen spoke to media in the build-up to second Group D encounter against Sudan, and said there can only be a clear favourite when every team has played the same number of matches.

“It’s hard to say because it is a marathon,” the 1994 Afcon winner told media ahead of Saturday’s match.

“It’s only the first game and like you all know, Egypt are seven-time African champions and not pushovers. They are a very strong team and we played very well and I give credit to all the players.

“Talking about being favourites will be too early and that is what I have maintained. We are going to focus on our next game and approach it with all seriousness and after crossing that hurdle, we will be looking forward to the third game.”

Kelechi Iheanacho’s first-half effort from a Joe Aribo assist at the Roumde Adjia Stadium propelled the West Africans past the seven-time African kings to occupy the summit of Group A.

After triumph over Carlos Queiroz’s men, the tactician is looking to plan differently in quest to seek off the East and Central Africans, stressing that: “Every game comes with his own plan.

“We have three points, they have one point, we need to consolidate on that. They will be pushing hard to win and we want to qualify for the second round. We have discussed, the backroom staff and the players what is at stake [on Saturday].

"They don’t have a Mohamed Salah in their team, but they have like four players who are very fast too. They will be up against Nigeria and it is expected that they will raise their game.”

The Super Eagles boast of superiority over the Sudanese, with eight wins in 14 meetings since first tie dates back to 1963 while the latter managed two victories. Victory over the Falcons of Jedaine would see Nigeria book a place in the Round of 16 with a game in hand.

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