Austin Eguavoen led Nigeria to a loss at the round of 16 of the just concluded AFCON, he was given another chance to lead team Nigeria to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but also lost the crucial qualifying match to Ghana.
He had earlier coached the team to a bronze medal place at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, before serving in interim capacity in 2010, after the departure of Lars Lagerback, before Samson Siasia was appointed.
However, Egauvoen resigned from leading the Super Eagles after losing the 2022 World Cup qualifying match against Ghana in Abuja. Speaking with PUNCH, Eguavoen blamed his team for the loss against Ghana.
According to him, his side’s lack of character and courage in the second leg against Ghana in Abuja was a major reason they lost the game. He also insisted that he remained one of the best coaches in the country and should he be given a new opportunity, he will want to coach the Eagles again.
“If there is still an opportunity for me, I will want to coach the Eagles again, but not at this moment, maybe later,” Eguavoen said during SuperSports’ program, Monday Night Football.
“If I’m called upon to lead the team again, I will definitely take up the job. I’m still one of the good coaches in the country. I can still prove a point it’s just a matter of time.
“No regrets taking up the job. When you are called to serve the nation I could not refuse them.”
“We lacked the character, zeal to beat Ghana when it mattered most,” he added.
“The Ghanaians showed they wanted it more than our boys and that was why it ended that way. We didn’t do any of that. We did not fight or push enough for the winner and how do you do that? It is with fast-paced football, creating chances but that didn’t happen.
“In Kumasi, the Ghanaians were better but in Abuja, the Eagles were the better side but could not win.
“The games between Ghana and Nigeria are always very difficult. If we had lost in Kumasi or in Abuja, I would have regarded myself as a failure but we lost on away goal. We didn’t lose the game but we lost the ticket to qualify for the World Cup.”
He also debunked claims that he was fired by the NFF, insisting he resigned from his position.
“After the game, there were lots of emotions running through and after 48 hours I wrote to the NFF thanking them for the opportunity they gave me to lead the team. The target was to qualify for the World Cup but we did not achieve that, hence I stepped down and went back to my office as Technical Director of the NFF.”