Super Eagles manager Augustine Eguavoen has allayed the apprehension of Nigerians who are worried about the chances of the national team when they take on the Black Stars of Ghana in the second leg of the final qualifying stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup today at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.
With the game finely balanced at 0-0 from the first leg last Friday in Kumasi, the Super Eagles need an outright win to get the World Cup ticket and Eguavoen is optimistic of victory.
“Nigerians are lovers of good football and passionate about the Super Eagles. They’ve been praying for the team and I want them to continue supporting us massively and I can promise them that at the end of the game everybody will be happy. They should come to the stadium tomorrow to come and support their team. We have to score goals, as many as we need to win the game outrightly. So if we have any chance we must take it and score. Ghana played very well, they’re not pushovers and we respect them the same way they respect Nigeria too. We came close to scoring in the first leg but we must now make sure we convert our chances in the second leg. We have corrected our errors and hopefully everything will work in our favour,” he said at a pre-game press conference on Monday evening.
The 56-year old tactician also debunked suggestions that he was under pressure to win the World Cup ticket, an assertion he waved aside as not being realistic.
“I’m not under any pressure. Yes, I’m representing all Nigerian coaches both old and young but I’m expecting good news tomorrow for all Nigerians. Once we cross the line at the final whistle, everyone will be jubilating.”
The former national team captain gave an update on the chances of winger Samuel Chukwueze and midfielder Innocent Bonke being available for the game after picking up knocks from the first leg in Kumasi.
He said: “Chukwueze had a scan and the result is not out yet. Bonke didn’t train because he had a knock. He also overstretched himself in the game in Kumasi so we have to wait and see how things pan out. We still have 24 hours before the game so anything can still happen regarding their fitness. I’m expecting a report on both players by 9pm this (Monday) evening. Once I get the report, we’ll know if they’re going to be available or not but we have enough personnel to pick from.”
A score draw in the game will see Ghana qualify for a fourth World Cup while another goalless draw in regulation and extra time will drag the game to a penalty shootout.