Eguavoen-Amuneke Super Eagles combo, Edo state deputy governor expresses reservation

The two former internationals have been tasked with guiding the national team to the global showpiece later in the year

Edo State Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu has given his take on the Nigeria Football Federation’s recent appointment of Emmanuel Amuneke to assist interim Technical Adviser Augustine Eguavoen.

The NFF recently suspended its agreement with Portuguese manager Jose Peseiro and rejigged the coaching setup that led the Super Eagles to a Round of 16 elimination at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Eguavoen will continue as head of the coaching team that has Salisu Yusuf and Joseph Yobo as assistants. Former Tanzania chief coach Amuneke has, however, been added to the crew as Eguavoen’s first assistant.

But the development has not been devoid of controversy, with the NFF tagging Eguavoen, the Technical Adviser, and Amuneke, the chief coach.

The 1994 Afcon winners are two of the most high-profiled, home-grown tacticians in the game, and their appointment delights Edo state number two citizen, Shaibu.

The Kaduna-born politician, though, has warned that there may be friction between Eguavoen and Amuneke if the NFF fails to spell out the roles of the two top coaches.

“When I heard that Eguavoen would continue as Super Eagles’ interim coach with Amuneke added as his assistant, I celebrated because they are good coaches,” Dep. Governor Shaibu said, as per the Guardian.

“However, I thought Eguavoen should have been given the Super Eagles’ job while Amuneke gets another team. But since they are now to work together, the jobs should be spelt out so that there will be no issues that can derail Nigeria’s ambition of qualifying for the World Cup.”

Eguavoen replaced Gernot Rohr in December just a few weeks to the 33rd edition of the Nations Cup. But the former KAA Gent defender impressed at the helm of affairs as his Super Eagles played some exciting, attacking football.

Winning all three group games, Nigeria were the best side of the Afcon’s first-round before their shock defeat to Tunisia.

The Eagles’ next challenge is a two-legged playoff against Ghana for a 2022 FIFA World Cup ticket. And Shaibu believes that, with a little tweak, the team will make it to Qatar with little trouble.

“If you saw Nigeria’s three matches at the Africa Cup of Nations, you will see a marked improvement in the Super Eagles compared with what we were used to in the last dispensation.

“What the coaches should do now is to review those matches and the game against Tunisia, to note where they did well and the mistakes they need to correct before the match against Ghana. I am sure they can beat Ghana home and away,” the University of Jos graduate added.

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