The Nigerian national football team boasts one of the youngest sides on the continent, and the former Super Eagles captain maintains that youth development remains the key to future greatness
The Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation, Austin Eguavoen, believes that the Super Eagles can return to the pinnacle of African and global football if more attention is paid to youth development.
It has been eight years since Nigeria last claimed the Africa Cup of Nations crown when Stephen Keshi guided the nation to her third continental crown in South Africa.
Franco-German tactician Gernot Rohr only inspired the African giants to a third-place finish at the Afcon 2019 in Egypt.
But in Wilfred Ndidi, Samuel Chukwueze, and Victor Osimhen, the Super Eagles boast some of the most talented youngsters in world football.
The trio combines to make the Rohr-tutored side one of the favourites for the next edition of the Afcon at Cameroon 2022.
Still, Eguavoen maintains that plans were underway to make the Super Eagles a stronger side for now and the foreseeable future.
“It will take a bit of time to get the Super Eagles back to what they used to be,” the former Super Eagles skipper told the Punch.
“The bedrock lies in the development now, and we have to focus on the young ones now because we have established players in the senior team. Young ones will need to come through the ranks.”
Eguavoen, a member of the trailblazing Super Eagles set of 1994 that won the AFCON title the same year, was appointed to the NFF Technical Director role three months ago.
And the former Enyimba International FC gaffer reveals that he has already disagreed and argued with head coach Gernot Rohr on matters of policy on youth development.
Eguavoen added: “I had a chat with Gernot Rohr a few days ago, and as soon as he comes, he will focus more on the younger players.
“We have a plan, and that plan will be unveiled to the world very soon. We argued and agreed on some issues and created a pathway that would make everybody happy, and that will be very soon.”
The Super Eagles are expected to meet next month ahead of their two Afcon-qualifying games against Lesotho and the Benin Republic.
The 2013 African kings need just one point to book their spot at Cameroon 2022.