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Nigeria Can Win The World Cup: Coach Eguavoen

Sooner or later, Nigeria will win the World Cup. This is the firm belief of the Super Eagles Interim Head Coach in the YouTube video below that I watched yesterday and found very illuminating and interesting.

"With the encouragement and support that we will soon be receiving, Nigeria will win the World Championship sooner or later," said Eguavoen as he talks through his philosophy and vision for Nigerian football within his capacity as Technical Director whilst reminiscing on the 1980s and 90s Super Eagles technical arc.

The former full back explains that the Super Eagles were known and should continue to be seen as a flair and affluent outfit with an expressive and expansive style of play with a discernable pattern. He said attacking and defending are collective responsibilities of the entire team with each player having individual roles.

Eguavoen talks about the need for the Super Eagles to have a spine: in his days, this ran as a straight line from Rufai though Keshi to Oliseh and then Okocha. Nigeria - he stresses - 'mixes it up' to either play out from the back or go long, depending on the opposition.

The Super Eagles 'stretches the field' with flamboyant, vibrant, dynamic and lightning speed wingers (like Finidi and Babangida) who feed off eloquently cladded long balls from Oliseh and Okocha. The Centre forward plays off the defender with Amokachi or - later on - Kanu working the space behind the arrow head to wreck havoc.

Defensively, only one fullback overlaps with Oliseh dropping back to add to the numbers. They double-team to strangle opposition attacking initiatives and deny danger men like Bulgaria's Hristo Stoichkov breathing space with a view to forcing them all the way back to sender.

Winning second balls is very important to Eguavoen's philosophy as well as having the right skills set which he curiously call "SIT AND WATCH". I didn't really catch what the WATCH aspect meant but as for SIT, Eguavoen said S stands for Speed and Strength, I for Intelligence and T for Technique.

He said any player that would be selected for his Super Eagles team has to possess at least 2 of these attributes. He credits Ejuke and 'baby' Chukwueze as been very skilful whilst Osimhen is a superior centre forward that keeps defenders on their toes.

Eguavoen sort of hesitates about Iheanacho but reluctantly said the Leicester man was 'okay' adding that playing different roles for club and country makes Iheanacho positionally-confused.

As for Ndidi, Eguavoen again reluctantly concedes that the Leicester man lacks the vision and passing range of Oliseh but has massive potentials to improve exponentially but he is inexplicably holding himself back.

A major part of his work is to help develop indigenous local coaches who can identify talents and imbibe them with the approach mentality to fit seamlessly into the flair yet effective brand of football that Nigeria should be known for.

Eguavoen belongs to the golden age of Nigerian footballers and was involved in key milestones in the Super Eagles history of accomplishments across the 1980s and 90s. He had a bite of the coaching-cherry in 2006 and managed to get Nigeria the bronze medal at the Afcon, narrowly missing world cup qualification on a technicality.

Now as the Interim Super Eagles Head Coach, will he bring his wealth of expertise and experience to bear to pull off a major coup in Cameroon next year?

The possibilities are indeed tantalising.

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