Former Super Eagles Head Coach Augustine Eguavoen has said that it is “very important” the Eagles win their first game if they want to stand a chance of emerging champions of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
The match between the Africa XI and Naija Legends ended all square (4-4) at the Agege Stadium in Lagos on Saturday.
“Nobody can say that (the favourite). Every contender there has the chance to win the cup. But if I wanna [sic] be selfish, I’d say I want my country to win of course. Of course, I want Nigeria to win. But the first game is always very important. Once we can win the first game then I think we can go all the way.”
Nigeria open their AFCON 2019 campaign against The Swallows of Burundi in Alexandria on June 22. Other opponents in Gernot Rohr’s men’s group (B) are Madagascar and Guinea.
Asked if he would be interested in politics someday considering ex-footballers – the likes of President George Weah and Chief Segun Odegbami – ventured into politics, and since Saturday’s Testimonial match is in honour of a political office holder, Eguaveon, 53 replies:
“Yes. In one word, yes. I wanna [sic] give back.”
On the EPL golden boot shared among three African players: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, Eguaveon expresses his delight:
“Great for us. Great for our continent. Great for our brothers. I hope it continues like that.”
The match featured ex-players like Didier Zokora, Stephen Appiah, Khalilou Fadiga, Diomansy Kamara, Titi Camara, Abdul Kader Keita, Herita Ilunga on the visiting players’ side and Taribo West, Tijani Babangida, Uche Okechuwku, Emmanuel Amunike, Kanu, Okocha, Mutiu Adepoju, Obafemi Martins, Victor Ikpeba, Julius Aghahowa, Ayo Makun A.Y, et al on the green and white side. Goalscorers are Fadiga, Keita, Titi Camara and Diouf for the Fanny Amun coached Africa XI team, while the net-shakers for Bonfrère Jo-coached Nigerian side are Kanu, Garba Lawal, Martins and AY.
Special Guest George Weah of Liberia was ably represented by Minister Zeoga Wilson. Also in attendance was Governor Ibrahim Dankwanbo of Gombe State among other dignitaries.