Coach Austin Eguavoen has defended his decision to start Super Eagles 2021 African Cup of Nations round of 16 games with same formation and players.
The blew opponents away in the Group phase, but their stay in the tournament ended prematurely when they fell to Tunisia in the round of 16.
The Tunisians nullified the attacking threat of the Super Eagles, before they took the lead in Garoua after Maduka Okoye made a mess of Youssef Msakni’s shot.
Eguaveon reacted and threw on Alex Iwobi for ineffective Kelechi Iheanacho, but game flipped on its head when the Everton man was shown a straight red card for a dangerous.
Despite the two unfortunate incidents (Maduka’s goalkeeping error and Iwobi’s red card), it was agreed that Eguaveon’s tactics and team selection were predictable — hence, it was easier for the Tunisians to execute a counter game plan.
However, Eguaveon disagreed and was adamant he approached the game with right tactics and insisted he would have been vindicated but for the unfortunate red card.
“We approach games with the personnel available and the reaction of the opponent. It’s not about 442 or 433, it doesn’t always have to do with the system; it’s having 11 players working together; defending and attacking together.“
“I think the red card we got also affected us, but we managed to respond, and unfortunately we couldn’t get the needed goal. “
Asked about the tactical switch after the Super Eagles were reduced to ten men, Eguaveon said:
“It also brought the best out of the boys, in fact when we were reduced to 10 men, our boys operated more. So it wasn’t always about tactics and overtime games between Nigeria and Tunisia are very close and the records will show it; that game could have gone either way on that day we were just unlucky. ” He Concluded.
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