The World Cup’s final playoff round in the African qualifying section pits the two West African giants against each other
Super Eagles interim Technical Adviser Augustine Eguavoen admits that Ghana’s Black Stars will present a formidable foe for Nigeria when the two teams meet next month to determine who features at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar later in the year.
The Ghanaians seek to return to the Mundial after missing the last edition in Russia. But the Black Stars did their reputation no good at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, where they failed to advance past the group stages after recording no win in three games.
But they remain a major force on the continent and are blessed with a rich history highlighted by four Afcon triumphs.
Still, the Super Eagles will be the slight favourites when the two eternal rivals clash in March. The three-time Afcon kings were the best team at the group stage of Cameroon 2021 before their shock second-round elimination at the hands of Tunisia.
The Super Eagles’ impressive display at the 33rd edition of the Afcon has seen the team rise from the fifth-best to the third-best national side on the continent.
And Eguavoen says that the professionalism and quality shown by the Eagles stars give him the confidence that Ghana are beatable.
“I was impressed with the high level of discipline and commitment of the players at the AFCON in Cameroon, and I feel privileged to lead the group,” Eguavoen said after meeting with some of the Super Eagles players on Tuesday.
“We have two tough games against Ghana next month, but I am not too worried because we have a squad that knows it is a mountain that we have to climb.
“We have a good headache to deal with – which is a surplus of good players. I want to thank the Government and the NFF for all the support during the AFCON; we will need even greater support for the World Cup playoff.”
For the crunch World Cup qualifier, Eguavoen will count on the technical sagacity of ex-international Emmanuel Amuneke, as the former Barcelona winger has been named the Super Eagles chief coach.