Nigeria: Augustine Eguavoen to remain in charge of Super Eagles on interim basis

3 months ago 380
Augustine Eguavoen (left) in the Nigeria dugoutAugustine Eguavoen (left) is in his third spell in charge of Nigeria

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has reversed its decision to appoint Jose Peseiro as coach of the national team and retained Augustine Eguavoen on an interim basis.

However, the NFF has now confirmed that Eguavoen, 56, will remain in charge of the three-time African champions ahead of the two-legged 2022 World Cup play-off against Ghana next month.

He will be assisted by former international Emmanuel Amuneke after a good showing by the team in Cameroon.

"We acknowledge and appreciate the interest that Jose Peseiro has shown during our very cordial discussions and have absolutely no doubt about his capacity. We believe that perhaps in the future, there could be an opportunity to work with him," NFF general secretary Mohammed Sanusi said.

"However, in view of the positive performance at the Africa Cup of Nations we have decided to accept the recommendation of the technical and development committee to retain the Eguavoen-led coaching crew."

Eguavoen, who is technical director of the NFF, had backed the appointment of Peseiro as his successor at the end of the tournament.

Jose PeseiroJose Peseiro resigned as Venezuela coach in August last year

However, the decision to overlook the Portuguese came as no surprise.

Two days ago NFF president Amaju Pinnick told local television station Channels TV that he had informed former Porto and Sporting CP boss Peseiro to wait until the end of March for possible employment.

"I am still talking to him," Pinnick said.

"Maybe he has to wait till after the World Cup qualifiers and if, in the course of his waiting, he got another job, we wish him well. The good news is that we did not sign the contract officially."

NFF opts for continuity but adds Amuneke

Nigeria sacked long-serving boss Gernot Rohr just four weeks before the Nations Cup, with Eguaoven taking charge for the third time in his career.

In late December a deal was agreed for Peseiro to eventually take over the West Africans.

The Super Eagles were the only side to win all three group games in Cameroon but were then beaten 1-0 by Tunisia in the last 16.

Critics of Eguavoen pointed to his poor game management against the North Africans and the fall-out from Nigeria's exit polarised opinions in the country - hence the decision to draft in Amuneke, who led Tanzania to the 2019 Nations Cup, as assistant coach.

Salisu Yusuf and former Everton defender Joseph Yobo have also joined the coaching staff, while Aloysius Agu remains as goalkeeping coach.

Amuneke, the 1994 African Footballer of the Year, previously managed his country's youth teams, Sudanese club SC Khartoum and Egyptian side Misr El-Makkasa.

Nigeria's Emmanuel Amuneke carried on his player's shoulders after they won the 2015 Under-17 World CupEmmanuel Amuneke coached Nigeria to the 2015 Under-17 World Cup title in Chile

He was the assistant coach when Nigeria won the Under-17 World Cup trophy for a record fourth time in the United Arab Emirates in 2013.

Two years later, Amuneke led the Golden Eaglets to a fifth U17 World Cup title in Chile and, revered as a proven youth manager, he was swiftly promoted to coach the Nigeria's U20 side, the Flying Eagles.

As a player, he was a key part of the Super Eagles team alongside Eguavoen, scoring both goals in the 1994 Nations Cup final where Nigeria beat Zambia 2-1 to secure their second African title.

He also played for the Super Eagles at the 1994 World Cup - scoring memorable goals against Bulgaria and Italy.

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