The Super Eagles went into the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations with doubts over their chances of winning a fourth title, but they have been able to silence their critics so far
Nigeria’s interim coach Austin Eguavoen says nobody gave his side a chance going into the 2021 AFCON, but they have been able to earn people’s respect after their brilliant start to the tournament.
The Super Eagles have been the best team in the competition so far, winning all of their three group games with six goals scored and one conceded from the penalty spot.
They are the only side to win all three group games, dominating their opponents in the three matches. But while the three-time African champions have been impressive so far, not many people gave them a chance going into the tournament.
The expectation was low ahead of the tournament after replacing their manager just one month before the start, while they were also not helped by the withdrawal of four key players.
It was a point Eguavoen was keen to point out after the team’s 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau in their final Group D game.
“Frome the first game, nobody gave us a chance, and we came, we did the job collectively,” Eguavoen said as per Modo.
“Again, I will not stop praising the players because I told them to express themselves, be committed, you don’t have any other country to play for except for Nigeria.”
Eguavoen also added that critics of the Nigerian team ahead of the tournament have now turned to fans, but he would not let the praises get into the squad’s head.
“Now people are thinking and starting to respect Nigeria, but that does not mean it will get into our head.”
“We will always respect our opponent. We will play them with full strength.
“We will play them the way we played against anybody,” Eguavoen added.
The Super Eagles continue their quest for a fourth AFCON title with a second-round clash against Tunisia on Sunday.