Austin Eguavoen, the Immediate past Super Eagles interim manager has admitted that Black Stars of Ghana showed they were hungrier and more determined than the Super Eagles of Nigeria to secure the ticket for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup ticket.
Both nations played home and away draws but Ghana were lucky to get the World cup ticket on the away goal rule following a 1-1 draw in Abuja after the initial goalless draw in Kumasi.
Speaking as a guest on a Supersport programme, Eguavoen apologised to Nigerians for the World Cup blackout.
“We did not play with the urgency the match demanded but they capitalize on this more than we did; they played better than Eagles in Kumasi but we played better than them in Abuja.
“Ghana’s game is always centre around the midfield and we failed to mark Thomas Partey in that area who has the luxury throughout the match in Abuja. It is unfortunate that we lost the ticket,” he added.
He acknowledged the support given to the team by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development while lamenting the team’s inability to repay the support by qualifying for the FIFA World Cup in the Middle East.
On the speculation on players being forced on the technical crew, Eguavoen said: “Nobody can force any player on me because the likes of Lookman have been doing well in Leicester City. Talking about somebody coming to alter my selection was not true and the only people I discussed my selection with were my backroom staff.”
“I want to thank NFF for giving me the opportunity to coach Nigeria for the World Cup qualifiers. I did not regret coaching the team especially when you are called to coach your country it was a privilege and I cannot refuse having spoken to a lot of people about it. I am not going to see myself as a failure as one of the god coaches in the country.
“Drawing in Kumasi and Abuja was not a failure as we did not lose the game but we lost the ticket. So I don’t see it as a failure because the two-legged qualifiers were sensitive matches, especially the World Cup,” he added.
He, however, charged the NFF to give the incoming coach a long-term target to build a new team for the senior national team.