AFCON: I’m under pressure to win – Eguavoen

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Interim coach of the Super Eagles, Austin Eguavoen says he is under pressure to win the upcoming African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament.

Eguavoen, who led the Eagles to a third-place finish in 2006, stated this after the team’s first training session at the VSTS-Annex of Roumde Adjo Stadium, Garoua, Cameroon on Thursday.

He said he is feeling the pressure of the expectations of Nigerians and would do his best to not disappoint the fans.

“Pressure yes, I am obviously. It’s just not me, even with Jose Mourinho, Antonio Conte, Pep Guardiola or Gernot Rohr you can’t say you won’t be under pressure.

“It’s like Manchester City, one of the best teams in the World at the moment, playing the best brand of football at the moment but with Guardiola, one coach that I adore, he has been unable to win the UEFA Champions League with City. You cannot say he is not under pressure to win it.

“People expect Nigeria to win the AFCON and that puts me under some pressure but I will take it and digest it. We take each game as it comes. All the teams here have come to prove a point,” Eguavoen, who was part of the team that won Nigeria’s second AFCON in 1994, said.

Nigeria plays groupmates Egypt on January 11, Sudan on January 15, and Guinea-Bissau on January 19.

“Our first game is crucial, which will give us a lot of encouragement if we win. I’m more relaxed now unlike two weeks ago.

“The first training session lasted for one hour and 15 minutes but we could not do everything that we wanted to but I was impressed.

“The pitch is good and the environment as well. The weather is good and the boys responded very well. We are happy.

“The boys understand me now and they have not shown any sign of cohesive grievance. Their attitude has been very professional, which is good.

“I spoke to a couple of them in the aircraft on Wednesday and I will speak with some more before we have a collective session tomorrow (today),” Eguavoen said.

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