Coach Augustine Eguavoen has assured Nigerians that the Super Eagles will throw everything into tomorrow’s Round of 16 matches against Tunisia as if it is a final game.
Nigeria topped Group D with the maximum nine points, while Tunisia came in as one of the best losers, after finishing last in Group F with just three points.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday at the team’s hotel in Garoua, Eguavoen said that they will approach tomorrow’s game at Stade Roumde Adjia with ‘everything’, knowing fully well that there is no room to make amend.
“This is the knockout stage, and you have to deploy every tactic to win. If you fail, you go home. We are not ready to go home now, so we have to win,” Eguavoen stated.
Eguavoen, who led the Super Eagles to the semifinal at Egypt 2006 edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, hinted that the players are fully aware of the ticklish nature of all North African teams. “We are ready for the task against Tunisia, from the players to the technical crew. We are all aware that an opportunity like this hardly comes. When you have it, you take it. That is our gospel in this tournament.”
He revealed that his dream is to lift the AFCON trophy once again, haven did so as a player at Tunisia ’94.
Eguavoen hinted that their training yesterday and today would determine whether or not to use the same team that played the group matches against the Pharaohs of Egypt, Sudan and Guinea Bissau, or bring in new players.
On if the players, coaches and other officials had been paid, Eguavoen said: “Things have changed, and mode of payment has equally changed. Now, we have to submit our bank details, and your money goes into your account unlike before when you get your money by hand. The Federal Government wants things done properly and accountably too. I must praise the players for their discipline, and I also commend President Muhammadu Buhari for his morale and financial support for the team. I also thank the Sports Minister and the NFF for believing in us.
I also thank my old teammates, Austin Okocha, Victor Ikpeba, Kanu Nwankwo, Sunday Oliseh, Emmanuel Amueke, Samson Siasia and others for their words of encouragement.