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Exclusive: Awoniyi, Umar Must Utilise Every Chance At AFCON 2021 –Unuanel

Exclusive: Awoniyi, Umar Must Utilise Every Chance At AFCON 2021 –Unuanel

Former Kwara United coach, Samson Unuanel has urged the Super Eagles duo of Taiwo Awoniyi and Sadiq Umar to fully utilize every opportunity given to them ahead of the team’s opening Group D game against Egypt in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

Both players are expected to lead the Super Eagles attack in the absence of Victor Osimhen and Odion Ighalo, who have been prevented by their clubs to play in Cameroon.


The three-time AFCON champions will face the Pharaohs of Egypt on January 11 before tackling Guinea-Bissau and Sudan respectively.

However, in a chat with Completesports.com, Unuanel stated that Awoniyi and Umar has what it takes o deliver the goals for Nigeria.

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“It is so sad that the duo of Osimhen and Ighalo will not be playing at AFCON 2021. However, I am very optimistic that this opportunity will now fall on the shoulders of Awoniyi and Umar to score the goals for the Super Eagles.

“There is no better time that this tournament that truly claim a shirt in the senior national team. They must utlise every chance that comes there way now.”

By Augustine Akhilomen

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  • Greenturf 6 months ago

    I don’t trust Awoniyi.Both Awoniyi and Umar have not hit the ground running in both practice and friendly games respectively.I would suggest Iheanacho to lead the line assisted by Iwobi who will drop back to help the midfield,then Simon and Chukwueze to play from the flanks,in the midfield,the duo of Ndidi and Aribo to keep it tight.
    Meanwhile,from the look of things Musa and Ejuke are getting the greenlight to start against Egypt strange decision from Eguavoen another strange one is leaving Awaziem out of the first team in my opinion Awaziem is better than both Eguavoen’s first choice of Omeruo and Ekong.
    Well eventually anyway the team will pick itself always does.Before the knockout stages not everyone who starts keeps there place you have to start strongly for a team like the super eagles otherwise you are in danger of losing your spot.
    But it’s always good to get the right selection from the start because winning your first game is important in a tournament.

    • how did you get know to all these? are you that close to the team?? that Umar and Awóníyì are yet to hit the ground running in training and friendly? the tournament has kicked off already and you will expect all players to be cautious to avoid unnecessary injuries as we are missing our top strikers already…Oshimen and Igahlo.Just allow the coach to do His job please…thanks

      • Greenturf 6 months ago

        @Tod_ I don’t send posts just for the sake of it or to run a player down.
        I am writing based on information from the media,if you haven’t read I have.The team has had one practice match only in a two aside @Golden Child..the one Umar scored a hat trick is a practice where defenders have to let go attackers to see how prolific they are in front of goal.It wasn’t a practice match rather a tactical drill.
        Meanwhile,super eagles coach Augustine Eguavoen is worried about his strikers impotence in front of goal from media report,apparently,a journalist reported Awoniyi was quiet all through the friendly and practice match.I understand they could turn up in tournament games I hope so,it’s just a couple of days away but I have not been a fan of Awoniyi from his days with the under23 and super eagles,he is yet to impress,I’m not antagonising him I’m just being honest on sporting grounds,not saying he isn’t a good athlete he has proved to be a good one in Germany but yet to bring that to the super eagles,though one official game isn’t enough to judge him but my analysis of him goes down his days with the under 23 in the failed Olympic play-offs.
        He is not proficient at his job in the national teams lately I do want him to prove me wrong against Egypt.
        @Motion..Iheanacho can play as a loan striker he did in Rohr’s early days as eagles coach and scored aplenty he scored against Egypt in Siasia’s failed Afcon qualifier against Egypt in Kaduna.He has impressed in Man city and Leicester as a lone striker it’s rather stereotype people thinking Nacho can only play behind a striker because of his exploits playing that role in his youth days.
        Nacho has done even better playing upfront alone than he has playing behind a striker.

    • Golden Child 6 months ago

      @Greenturf, it was reported that Sadiq scored a hatrick in one of their practice games. Chai! Let us be patient now. When has iheanacho played well when leading the line? Hs plays best playing of another striker.

      In spite of some dodgy selections, some how fate has been kind to us as we go into the tourney with a decent team.

      Let the hostilities begin!

    • onwajunior 6 months ago

      Personally, Simon should be as far away from the first team as possible. He was the worst player throughout our qualifiers. Media outlets are just promoting him. Most (if not all) articles on owngoalnigeria.com praise him, evident that those articles are sponsored.
      I think Awoniyi is good to lead the line, he’s excellent at opening and running into space. Look at his goals at Union, even his misses, he’s very good at opening. We’d need someone to lay those passes, and with Nacho, Iwobi and Nwakali I think we are covered. But Simon should just join the coaching staff abeg.

      • Greenturf 6 months ago

        Simon in those games in question played as a full back in a 3-5-2 formation.In my observation for the work he had to do plus the Lagos dodgy pitch I think he did reasonably well.
        Go back to see games he played for Nigeria as a left winger,he was impressive,he was a thorn in the flesh of Liberia featuring from the left wing in our first meeting.
        Simon is a quality player.

        • Ayphillydegreat 6 months ago

          I think Simon has formed a very good understanding with Sanusi on the left side according to some reports from camp. There’s a possibility that Moses Simon will be playing in the left side of attack in this AFCON. Based on experience he should start ahead of anyone on that left side of attack. Awoniyi truly hasn’t been convincing according to reports same with Umar. Iheanacho is likely to lead the line.

          • Greenturf 6 months ago

            Thanks @Ayphillydegreat for your observations..

        • Adebola 6 months ago

          Don’t expect miracle against Egypt.I am feeling a bad outing most these players are new and inexperience.

          • Well… the so called inexperience team of ours are better than South African team that beat them hands down in their backyard with Salah in the last edition.

          • Greenturf 6 months ago

            @Adebola the players are there for the coach to get a result unless he makes a wrong selection I don’t see us losing to Egypt.
            But reports coming from media on his likely lineups is not encouraging.
            Leaving out Iwobi in the starters line up for inexperienced Ejuke who is not naturally a midfielder is worrying.Another addition to his line up a shocking one indeed is Ahmed Musa over Samuel Chukwueze.
            Placing Awaziem on the reserves is a blunder because that lad should be the first name in his list we need his youth and assuredness.
            Eguavoen has to get it right Simon must start on the left we need his energy and experience.

        • onwajunior 6 months ago

          I don’t know mehn @Greenturf. Simon to me was our weakest link in majority of those qualifying matches. Even his crosses were poor (maybe apart from the goal against CV), his corners were rubbish. I remember we had lots of corner kicks but the deliveries were poor. I know he somehow ends up as coaches favorite, maybe his performance at trainings and so on. If he must play, then I’d rather he play as a support striker or even CF, a role that doesn’t require much intelligence just direct play and shoot. Like what CSKA did with Musa. I wish I could screenshot and post ppl’s comments you’d see that during our games most ppl complained about Simon in particular.

  • MOTION 6 months ago

    This your iheanacho and iwobi combination is a bad idea God forbid

  • One of the things that I think affected moses simon in those matches is that he played from the right wing. He is mostly used to playing from the left and has been playing from that position in his club for sometime now. If he is moved to the left wing I believe we will see a different and improved performance from him.

    Playing iheanacho as a lone striker is an idea. He has played in such a formation for his club, but he needs very fast wingers to play off him. They will be the ones making the runs while he gives them the passes to score goals. But I dont think it has come to that in the Super Eagles.

    It looks like eguavoen is considering starting Ahmed musa in the first game, reports are showing Ahmed musa playing with the esablished players during test and practice matches. He even started the friendly match. Well maybe he is seeing something in him. Time will tell.

    Ejuke should not be played in the number 10 role in my opinion. He is better and more effective on the left or right side of the wings. Thats where he does he best work from. Aribo, iwobi and Nwakaili can do the job from the number 10. Lets give them a chance.

    Against Egypt I recommend awaziem play as right back if he wont be playing as a centre back. He is strong, fast and difficult to beat or go past. So hes strength is needed in the team.

    The strikers are not scoring probably because they are not used to the team yet. They haven’t played together long enough to understand each other. These things dont just happen overnight. They need patience and time to understand each.

    • So Eguavon is seeing something in him but during Rohr it is bribe, can you see that only God will forgive some of you? Are the players like Simon, Musa,Ighalo, Collins some of you used to slate rohr for inviting to the national team your demi god is using now? I can assure you that 98% of players in starting 11 will be those players during Rohr era come Tuesday and when you come you will say rohr doesn’t do anything for 6 years. Reckoning day is in the corner where most of you will swallow your word.

      • Ohswaggs 6 months ago

        Baba, Rohr didn’t do anything for 6yrs. Rest d matter…Dat guy was always looking lost during all our matches…We either played worse or stayed same in all our 2nd halves…He likes “ready-made”, hence avoiding anything “NPFL”…

        • Edoman 6 months ago

          Don’t understand what you are talking about. How come Rohr qualified Super Eagle for AFCON and set the team for FIFA playoff? Let’s see what “our own” will do on Tuesday okay.

          • Greenturf 6 months ago

            Thank you @Edoman..Rohr didn’t do anything for 6yrs yet he qualified us for two Afcon,one world cup and final playoffs to Qatar 2022.He won the bronze medal in his only Afcon attempt he was only employed a few months after we missed out on the 2017 edition so his first two years of employment was mostly redundant because of the teams failure to qualify for the 2017 nations cup dumped by Salahs Egypt with a local coach in charge of the super eagles.
            This is the reason people think he wasted many years achieving little wheras in the 6yrs he worked for us he was only active for 4ish years yet met every target set by his employers,sadly still referred as a failure.
            It’s really hard to please humans.We need to learn how to appreciate and give honour to whom it’s due.Rohr will go down in the hall of fame of Nigerian coaches for his successes his goodness.
            May God bless that man.
            I love you Gernot Rohr.

          • Dennis 6 months ago

            Rohr made us forget how we use to cry when we do not qualify for nations cup. How we use to say ‘all we are saying, give us one goal’. How we use to use calculators to know our chances of qualifying. We forgot that we were 76th when he took charge and left us at 35th. We were 16th in Africa when he took charge but left us at 5th. People act like Rohr took us to 6 tournaments and failed in all. We were never going to win the world cup so he should be judged by the nations cup. What was our position in the nations cup prior to his appointment? We didn’t make it. We soon forget that the nations cup was expanded with more countries participating thereby making it harder. Let us all see what our own will do on Tuesday. I wish the eagles success

  • Ernest Ogamba 6 months ago

    Please guys,it is a great opportunity to see yourselfs playing for super eagles at this point.Therefoer,i want you all to adequately use it to the fullest because a bigger platform is on it’s way (world cup). May the almighty God guide and protect you guys as you represent the nation (Nigeria).


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