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AFCON 2021: Eguavoen Should Retain Awoniyi, Iheanacho Partnership’  –Agali

AFCON 2021: Eguavoen Should Retain Awoniyi, Iheanacho Partnership’  –Agali

Former Nigeria international Victor Agali has advised Super Eagles interim coach Austin Eguavoen, to retain the strike partnership of Taiwo Awoniyi and Kelechi Iheanacho.

Awoniyi and Iheanacho operated in the Eagles’ attack against Egypt with the latter getting the only goal with a brilliant volley.

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They were also involved in other chances created by the Eagles as they opened their campaign with the impressive win.

Also Read: AFCON 2021: No Hiding Place For Sudan –Adepoju

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Both forwards should be in action for the Eagles when they face Sudan on Saturday.

And Agali, speaking on ‘No Holds Barred’ on Brila FM, Agali urged Eguavoen to retain the partnership going forward.

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‘Iheanacho is not someone you want to play as a point man, so it’s better to have him support someone and Awoniyi coming with his form from the Bundesliga, and after missing Osimhen, it’s better to leave Awoniyi and have Iheanacho roam around him and that has happened. 

“Iheanacho is someone that can drop in the midfield and looking at the formation against Egypt we played a classical 4-4-2 where we had Aribo and Ndidi in the middle, Iheanacho was like a pyramid in front and support the guys behind. So it worked for us because we were very aggressive and we controlled the game so I expect the coach to maintain that.”

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COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 27
  • Players To Be Retained Against Sudan
    _ Following Training Session _

    Several observers including Former Super Eagles Headmaster Victor Agali have importuned coach Eguavoen to approach the next game with the core of players that prosecuted Super Eagles’ 1:0 curtain raiser.

    With the jubilant dust of the victory against Egypt yet to settle, the Super Eagles are back rolling their sleeves in training. This time, they face Sudan on Saturday in a match that would secure safe passage to the second round should Nigeria win.

    In fact, victory in that match will interestingly serve two purposes: 1) allow Eguavoen test fringe players in the last game against Guinea Bissau and 2) improve the chances of facing a less formidable opponent in the second round should Nigeria eventually top the group.

    And topping the group will largely depend on personnel deployment and tactical constellation utilised to face Sudan. Against this backdrop, the outcome of the Super Eagles’ training sessions has thrown up tantalising possibilities.

    The Super Eagles were grouped in 2 teams, one with the majority of those who featured in the morale booster against Egypt (team red) and the second group largely filled with fringe players with the exception of goalkeeper Okoye (team green).

    Team Green won 2:1 with goals from Umar and Onyekuru. Nwakali reduced the tally for team green with a swish,swanky and sumptuous effort.

    These are my observations:

    1) Nwakali is likely to feature prominently as he trained with the main team. His goal also put him in frame for consideration. Whether he starts or comes off the bench again remains to be seen. So much puffery surrounded Nwakali’s inclusion to this squad but he didn’t live up to the hype against Egypt despite his gritty and acceptable performance. Once the pin-up boy of Nigerian football, Nwakali might yet get his time to shine.

    2) Onyekuru is pushing hard to play a part in the next match having been overlooked altogether against Egypt. He was as busy as a bee in the training session and was as ruthless as a tiger in clawing his way to goal. He was also as smooth as silk in his all round presentation as he caught the eye with his footballing eloquence. I would not be surprised to see him come on at least as a substitute.

    3) Uzoho continues to breathe heavily down Okoye’s neck. Noteworthy is the fact that the Cyprus based net-minder trained with the main team. He was sturdy at the back and looked well composed despite conceding 2 goals. Okoye has thus far given no one any reason to doubt his credentials. His creative L-shaped leg save against Marvelous Mo Salah was the difference between a 1:0 and 1:1 scoreline. But, if he falters in subsequent games, Uzoho lies in wait.

    4) Sadiq Umar continues to seek redemption. The general consensus was that he didn’t fire on all cylinders in his Afcon curtain raiser against Egypt, to which coach Eguavoen said: “He (Sadiq) gave me some few excuses after the game but it’s something psychological so we have to talk to him and address it in future games.”
    Scoring a goal in the training session should have boosted Sadiq’s confidence and put him in a good frame of mind ahead of the second game (where he is expected to still play a part).

    5) Coach Eguavoen wants to equal his own record and break new grounds. This is to be blemishless in navigating the group stages by being greedy in amassing all 9 points; something he did at the 2006 Afcon, something that will go down in the history books if he pulls it off again. To do that, Eguavoen is whipping up confidence and hunger in the boys in training and hopes to select the right players to interpret his philosophy and achieve his aims and objectives against Sudan.

    The victory against Egypt and the manner it was achieved resonated with a large body of Super Eagles fans. They now feel very much invested in what the team is trying to achieve and feel carried along in the process.

    A win against Sudan will do more to reinforce the wind of optimism sweeping across the Super Eagles and the fans.

     
  • Four four two 2 weeks ago

    Very detailed and well articulated; classical and erudite piece. Thanks so [email protected]

     
  • Omo9ja 2 weeks ago

    Of course I don’t think the coach should change his first eleven for no reasons.

    On the other hand, Dessers would have made big impact in this tournament had he Mr. No nonsense listened to our advice.

    Awoniyi did well against Egypt and Umar Sodiq and Olayinka are the other fanterbulous strikers too and I hope they prove that in Cameroon.

    I hope coach Eguavoen will have a rethink and call Dessers back into the Super Eagles for the world cup qualifiers.

    Can’t rely on Osimhen alone but other strikers too.

    In this case where by Osimhen is not available, we shouldn’t be struggling in that department but the former coach Oga Rohr was a rigid during his time and who preferred not to be flexible. He was relying on Ighalo too much. Even at the last Afcon, he didn’t give Osimhen a chance to play not until the 3rd place against Tunisia.

    We can see the difference between Oga Rohr and Mr. No nonsense.

    This is Nwakali and Sodiq Umar first Afcon and he brought both players in against Egypt. If you don’t trust the players you invited to camp, why did you bring them in?
    That question is for Oga Rohr and his fans.

    I appreciate Oga Rohr for his efforts to left behind a strong team like this for us. I have to give him that accolade and our own will finish the job.

    Now, I am expecting Mr. Eguavoen to look beyond Ighalo, Akpeyi and John Noble after this Afcon in Cameroon. If mr. No nonsense continues this way, Nigerians will stop NFF from hiring a foreign coach. That is for sure.

    Ighalo have no space in that team anymore and Dessers, Lookman, Ejaria, Nwobodo, Adeleye, Osagwe, Bassey, and Adeboye are the players that can improve the Super Eagles.

    Musa is needed in the team. He serving Nigeria to the best of his ability and his maturity and experience will helping the team both on the pitch and off the pitch in Cameroon. World Cup in Qatar will be his last tournament if we qualify. So, Musa is still needed in that team.

    Lastly, I heard that Awaziem is still injured. I wish him a speedy recovery.

    However, if he can’t make it in this tournament to play then if it is possible to replace him then there’s another opportunity for Dessers to come in. As we can see, we needed a striker like Dessers to compliments Super Eagles efforts. Coach Eguavoen should please put sentiments aside and do the necessary thing.

    So, Mr. Agali, no tension. Ire o. God bless Nigeria!!!

     
    • Douglas John Ufuoma 2 weeks ago

      oga stand one place make we no where u stand. i thought you said rorh was a mechanic and that he was killing the team why thanking him, you all are celebrating that we play physical football against egypt and you are happy, pls remind who send the same egpyt packing from the last nations cup, it was south africa, did they play physical ball, no. was salah useless in that match, yes. the same you have criticise rohr for using okoye and that there something fishing, you and others also accused him of using the team to take bribe, one ex-player even insulted aribo after the match against cape verde that he cannot carry the ball. you now make a u-turn to write this. did rorh play physical football before he qualify us for all the competitions he played? how far your nwakali, sadiq and awoniyi. karma will for sure take his own bound of flesh when the time comes. i pray and hope we do well because nigeria first, but those that gang up against an innocent man must drink from the same cup

       
    • Tgrace65 2 weeks ago

      @Omo9ja, now I know you lack right judgement. You are like a reed unstable

       
  • Pius Obemhen 2 weeks ago

    In addition to Victor Aghali stance, the partnership was really more than a tripartite one that saw Moses Simon getting hold of a through ball from Aribo in the 26th minute which he side netted.

    Moses Simon had been excellent from the left flank and the link-up play between him, Iheanacho and Awoniyo has been encouraging. Moses again running amok down the flank line and carrying a 3-man Egyptian defense line mesmerizingly opened the space for Awoniyi to shot, he did but his effort was easily gathered by El Shenawy, the Egyptian keeper. Awoniyi needs to add more drive to his shots.

    Then 8 minutes into the half hour mark, Iheanacho ballooned a shot like pass as the Egyptian keeper smothered while Awoniyi looked to pounce, still that effort was wasted.

    Then in the 50th minutes, Aina was busy at the other end and was still able to convert a half chance from the corner touchline which he delivered to Awoniyi but still there was no force expected of a hungry striker, El Shenawy with the tip of his fingers crashed the ball off the bar and appeals for a goal that wasn’t granted because the ball, however failed to cross the line.

    I hope Awoniyi improves recalling the fact that Augustine Eguavoen will be hoping that the temporary feature of his current managerial status will be removed if Nigeria can deliver more performances in subsequent matches mostly now that his charges will be facing Sudan tomorrow.

    In all fairness, there’s a vim and vigor about this Super Eagles that we didn’t see under Gernot Rohr with the German manager having difficulties interpretig the Nigeria playing style. Eguavoen would need more time with this set of eagles and possibly be given the responsibility to scan for more domestic players in our local league to shore up. Good luck S.E of Nigeria.

     
    • Charles Oboli 2 weeks ago

      Pius Obemhen,

      What some of us who are regular features on this forum did was to avail ourselves an editorial platform to see how much the out of point materials can be contained. Regardless, you gave a pin to pin drop of what Aghali relatively has in mind but wasn’t able to fully exact himself. Awoniyi, I think experienced stage freight in his first international outing in the Nigerian green white green colors(Did I mention some other obscure colors)? No. You were quite assertive when you said Awoniyi should get his drive right and exactly where Odion Ighalo and Victor Osimhen when fit should collaborate to give us goals. Odion remains the highest goal score in the recently past Afcon and he is still scoring goals. There were so many sitters in the game against Egypt, Odion won’t see those sitters flew by, never, and if not for the fact that we won the match by that solitary goal dropped by Aribo to Kelechi Iheanacho to score, our supposed strikers on that evening were wasteful and to put sentiments aside, that wasn’t the Nigeria style. Give Ighalo half of those chances, he is sure to convert. We saw how it was difficult for member of the so-called partnership to trap and score goals around opponent’s 18yard box, and that wasn’t even once. One good thing with the result against Egypt is that Coach Egu is firmly rooted and I won’t be here to advise him who to field in our next match or who to invite when the play offs begins in Match for the reason that he is taking things step by step while achieving set targets.

       
      • @Oboli: When I read some nonsense from the early risers, I was like enh enhn, hmmm! Now I see truth is coming out though likely to remain at bitter state o. Who bares the cat?

         
  • John-I 2 weeks ago

    Agali is 100% right. The partnerships comparable to Awoniyi/Iheanacho is Amokachi/Yekini and Brown Ideye/Emenike.
    In Rohr’s many years, I never saw that understanding between his centerforward and support-striker.
    There was one instant Awoniyi just controlled the ball, left the ball and dragged the Egyptian defenders away. Iheanacho followed and letter delivered the ball to him but the angle was a bit tight. Their body movement, gestures – everything in perfect. They seem to be genuinely happy to one another too.
    Thanks to Manu Garba! Thanks to Augustine Eguaveon!

     
    • Friday Ikolo 2 weeks ago

      That’s not true. Amokachi/ Rashidi Yekini meant goals upon goals and not the Iheanacho/Awoniyi that can barely shoot at keeper or even trap the ball confidently. Let’s assume you did not see the match we played against Egypt, aren’t you reading what the fans are saying? The only reason why Iheanacho was fielded is because Odion was not available. My prayers for Iheanacho is that he is able to prove himself now that he has the opportunity otherwise, I will send him back to the bench.

       
      • John-I 2 weeks ago

        Iheanacho has nothing to prove to anyone. He has 12 goals from less than 40 games (as a support-striker) for Super Eagles. Even if he retires today, he has done well for himself. Among all the current Nigerian footballers in Europe, none of them has more individual awards than Iheanacho. The goal he scored against Egypt was a cracker. Aside Mohamed Salah, I doubt if there’s another player on that pitch with such calmness and precision to score such goal. All the major media agreed that was a great strike.
        When people say Ighalo this and that, I just laugh. Was it not the same Ighalo that ensured Nigeria was knocked out of 2018 FIFA World Cup by missing two great chances? Didn’t Ighalo play in the last Nations Cup? Did he ensure Nigera triumphed over Algeria??? Abegi….Ighalo this that. Ighalo only has more physicality than Nacho. In terms of shooting-precision, Ighalo is nowhere near.

        By the way, I watched the game. I repeat, I’ve not seen that striking partnership (Iheanacho/Awoniyi) in ages from Super Eagles. The last was Ideye/Emenike.
        May be you’re too young to have remembered that Nigeria lost some games with Yekini/Amokachi (with none of them scoring).

        Finally, Kelechi Iheanacho has nothing to prove to anyone. He may likely win MOTM again Sudan!

         
      • You are sick in the [email protected] Ikolo. Ighalo cannot do 1/4 of what “SeniorMan Kels” is doing in the SE right now: Is it his trickery, accurate shooting range, dribbles, sublime passes? Iheanacho is the most clinical striker SE has at the moment. The MOTM vs Egypt, the current FA cup winner, the man who sent Man U packing in that semis.

        Ighalo should stay away from SE, he is a pretender.

        All those clamoring for the retired old Ighalo should shut their dirty mouths. Nonsensical inconsequential elements of deceitfulness (NIED).

        Ighalo was invited for AFCON 28 shortlist 2021 but he decided to run away hoping for the Eguavoan’s team to flop since his loyal boss (Rohr) was fired and regulars like Osimhen and Balogun opted out for various reasons.

        He has seen the new reinvigorated and revamped super eagles, he has started pressing the come back button again to enjoy WC, NO WAY 4 STUPIDITY NOW.

        Ighalo should respect himself and stay retired like his boss.

        We have young, vibrant, pacy, skillful and experienced strikers which Coach Egu can always call and optimize their potentials for glory.

        Gone are the days the old Mechanic will invite new talented and inform players and will not give them playing time bcos he is too afraid and lack the eye/skill to discover the potentials & strength of each player and deploy them appropriately on the pitch.

        Give Gernot Rohr 50 talented and vibrant players to train, for 3months (90days), he will still not find one reliable player among them. Shame!!!!……

        Ighalo has lost his SE opportunity forever by making us loose a spot due to his deceits and prank. (We are wiser).

        Ighalo is a pretender, he has passed his prime. (QED).

        Kels, VO9, Awo, Umar, Dennis, Dessers, Moffi, Success, et al., are the real deals!….

         
        • Friday Ikolo 2 weeks ago

          I’m occasionally here as I’ve got some more important things to do. I see that you are trying to bare the cat, it’s your choice anyways… However, @Dayo, if could go back to his post above, has already told una that truth is likely to remain at bitter state o.

           
  • Larry 2 weeks ago

    It is only an insane and corrupt mind that will select Ighalo when you have better strikers like Osi, Awo, Nacho, Dennis, Desser,and Sadiq..

     
    • Sabbat 2 weeks ago

      The person is holding bread, butter and knife o.

       
      • @LARRY on what Ground are you using in comparing Ighalo to Sadiq, NAcho, Dennis and Desser? Cause to me Ighalo is far more a complete and Experience Striker to the above names.

         
        • John-I 2 weeks ago

          On what grounds is Ighalo better? Bring up statistics between Ighalo and Iheanacho. I’m waiting

           
    • Douglas John Ufuoma 2 weeks ago

      your awo was future against egypt how is performance, let not mention sadiq that is another version of paul. you are celebrating that the super eagles played physical game against a team that have only salah, with all the physical game against spain in 2013 confederation what was the result. the truth be told apart from victor no other striker is a match to Ighalo, you can call may be Desser and not your awoniyi that cannot score or assist or even keep defenders busy. and pls dont mention sadiq oo. ur star boy nwakali shows the reason why he was send out to a lower division side that is battling relegation, and still sitting in the bench. i will advise the coach to look away from playing ball to flexiable one, because you cannot use physical style of play against low teams like cape verde, gabon, and others. because it will be counter productive

       
    • John-I 2 weeks ago

      My brother I wonder o. Ighalo that singlehandedly sent Nigeria out of 2018 World Cup? Na Nigeria we dey sha lol

       
  • Larry 2 weeks ago

    You are very funny, Ighalo will not even achieve upto 50% of what Awo did against Egypt. Awo is a modern day striker who can wear out any defence, unlike Ighalo that could not show up against Cape Verde and was hauled off by his coach in the second half.
    Second division is Spain is more technical and competitive than Sunday Sunday football in Saudi. Sadiq is better than Ighalo.

     
    • All those clamoring for the retired old Ighalo should shut their dirty mouths. Nonsensical inconsequential elements of deceitfulness (NIED).

      Ighalo was invited for AFCON 28 shortlist 2021 but he decided to run away hoping for the Eguavoan’s team to flop since his loyal boss (Rohr) was fired and regulars like Osimhen and Balogun opted out for various reasons.

      He has seen the new reinvigorated and revamped super eagles, he has started pressing the come back button again to enjoy WC, NO WAY 4 STUPIDITY NOW.

      Ighalo should respect himself and stay retired like his boss.

      We have young, vibrant, pacy, skillful and experienced strikers which Coach Egu can always call and optimize their potentials for glory.

      Gone are the days the old Mechanic will invite new talented and inform players and will not give them playing time bcos he is too afraid and lack the eye/skill to discover the potentials & strength of each player and deploy them appropriately on the pitch.

      Give Gernot Rohr 50 talented and vibrant players to train, for 3months (90days), he will still not find one reliable player among them. Shame!!!!……

      Ighalo has lost his SE opportunity forever by making us loose a spot due to his deceits and prank. (We are wiser).

      Ighalo is a pretender, he has passed his prime. (QED).

      Kels, VO7, Awo, Umar, Dennis, Dessers, Moffi, Success, et al., are the real deals!….

       
    • John-I 2 weeks ago

      Can you imagine comment? Ighalo kwa??? Lol. Ighalo is only good against Libya, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Mauritania e.t.c, not against big teams!

       
  • Musa Yahaya 2 weeks ago

    Only a sick idiot will compare a Retired SAUDI based IGHALO to a leading top scorer in GERMAN Bundesliga…the 3rd best league in EUROPE.

    SAUDI LEAGUE is lower than GERMAN 3rd DIVISION.

     
    • Chike 1 week ago

      The highest goal scorer in Afcon today is a Saudi Arabia based Cameroonian, Abubakar. He has 4 goals from two matches. But your seniorman who plays in EPL has only managed 1 goal in the same numbers of matches. Una see unasef na? Without Ighalo it will be dicey to win the play offs and I really don’t think in all sincerity that Egu would like to take such risk of going for those matches with strikers who are still learning to trap the ball.