AFCON 2021: Why I’m bothered – Nigeria coach, Eguavoen
Augustine Eguavoen, the interim coach of Nigeria’s Super Eagles, has admitted he is bothered because a majority of European clubs don’t want to release players for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, on time.
Recall that some managers of top European clubs with African players have criticized the timing of AFCON, with the fourth wave of COVID-19 creating more fears.
Eguavoen, who replaced Gernot Rohr as coach of Nigeria national team, said he is worried because he has a list and if he doesn’t release it, then it will be difficult for him to put a team together before the AFCON kick-offs on January 9.
Nigeria is in Group D alongside Egypt, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau.
Asked to comment on the issue of European clubs not wanting to release players for AFCON and if it bothers him, Eguavoen told NFF TV: “Yes, of course, everyone should be bothered because there is a list out there and if you don’t release the majority how do you put a team together.
“I remember in 2011 just before the Olympic games London 2012, we won all the games, blowing teams up 5-1 like that and 95 percent of the players were from Europe, players like Nosa Igiebor, Nnamdi Oduamadi.
“But when it was time to go to Morocco (for the U-23 AFCON) out of the players who featured during the qualifiers for the U-23 AFCON, I only got like five of them, so it was a problem. So if European clubs are now saying we can’t release them, it will be a problem and to put another team together at this time would be tough.”
Recall that Eguavoen released a 28-man provisional list for the 2021 AFCON a few days ago.