By John Essien
Former Super Eagles Technical Adviser Austin Eguavoen says lack of character from the players cost Nigeria the ticket to Qatar 2022 World Cup.
After a 1-1 draw at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja last week, the Black Stars of Ghana secured their fourth berth at the mundial at the expense of eternal rivals Nigeria on away goal rule.
Speaking after the team’s failure to navigate past the Black Stars, Eguavoen, who absolved himself of any failure in his duty, accused the players of showing no zeal to qualify for the competition in the deciding second-leg game against Ghana in Abuja.
“We lacked the character, zeal to beat Ghana when it mattered most. The Ghanaians showed they wanted it more than our boys, and that was why it ended that way. We didn’t do any of that. We did not fight or push enough for the winner, and how do you do that?” said Eguavoen. “It is with fast-paced football, creating chances, but that didn’t happen. In Kumasi, the Ghanaians were better, but in Abuja, the Eagles were the better side but could not win.”
“The games between Ghana and Nigeria are always very difficult. If we had lost in Kumasi or Abuja, I would have regarded myself as a failure, but we lost on away goals,” he reasoned. “We didn’t lose the game, but we lost the ticket to qualify for the World Cup,” he added.
Meanwhile, the 57-year-old was sacked alongside the rest of the Super Eagles’ technical crew the clash against the Black Stars of Ghana.