Nigeria set their sights on Qatar 2022
Super Eagles technical director Augustine Eguavoen is optimistic about the final leg of the World Cup qualifying match against Ghana on Tuesday when the Nigerian team hosts the Black Stars of Ghana.
The gaffer said that spirits were high in camp. “We’re in high spirits. We played really well on Friday and we were solid at the back. Credit to Ghana’s defence, especially Daniel Amartey who kept us at bay. Now we have to work on our final balls and ensure we make the right deliveries into the opponent’s box. Chukwueze sustained a knock in the game but it’s not serious and he will participate in squad training today.”
In a quest to qualify for Qatar 2022,Nigeria must win to book a ticket to the biggest football stage. Many Nigerians are optimistic about the home advantage in a 60,000 capacity stadium. Nigeria have never made it past the Round of 16 at the World Cup and this happened in 1994 and 2014. Losing to an Italian side inspired by Roberto Baggio and France who beat the Super Eagles 2-0 twenty years later,Nigeria will want to end their woes and perhaps go a step further. The backroom staff will be avoiding a repeat of 2006 when Nigeria failed to qualify for the Mundial in Germany.
The country however boasts three AFCON titles won in 1980,1994 and 2013. The nineteen year gap without winnning the AFCON brought what seemed to be a resurgence to Nigerian football under the tutelage of the late Stephn Keshi.
The decline however came too soon. Nigeria failed to qualify for the AFCON in 2015 and this resulted in the sacking of Keshi. Former national team midfielder Sunday Olise was duly appointed,only to lose out on a ticket to AFCON 2017. Following Olise’s dismissal,German tactician Gernot Rohr was appointed and he qualified Nigeria to the World Cup in 2018, podium finish at AFCON 2019(bronze medal) and also qualified for AFCON 2021 before he was also relieved of his duties.
As the stage is set, fingers are crossed and both camps know that the pride of their nations are at stake in the last fight.