AUSTIN Eguavoen has been appointed as the Super Eagles interim head coach by the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) after it formally sacked German manager Gernot Rohr after over five years in charge of the team.
Last month, Nigeria limped into the final qualification round of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after an unimpressive 1-1 draw with Cape Verde at home. This shoddy performance was the last straw for many Super Eagles fans who among other seen witnessed their team suffer a 0-1 humiliating loss at home to lowly Central African Republic at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
With the final round of qualification involving a two-legged knock out tie against much sterner opposition in February, NFF officials are wary of leaving Mr Rohr in charge. Nigeria will either face Ghana, Cameroon, Egypt, Dr Congo or Mali in the final round and NFF officials are particularly concerned about the fact that Mr Rohr lacks the flexibility to change players or tactics when needed.
After weeks of discussions about how to pay off the remainder of Mr Rohr’s contract and who to replace him with, the NFF has now formally sacked him. Former Super Eagles and one-time manager Eguavoen has been recalled to take charge of the team for now until a substantive manager is found.
An NFF spokesman said: “The Nigeria Football Federation has appointed Mr Augustine Eguavoen, currently its technical director, as the technical adviser of the Super Eagles on an interim basis. This is with immediate effect and follows the termination of the relationship with Franco-German Gernot Rohr, who has been in charge of the three-time African champions for the past 64 months and is Nigeria’s longest-serving manager.”
Mr Rohr was appointed as Nigeria’s coach in 2016 and during his time, he led the team to the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, where the Super Eagles finished third. However, he has been under pressure for over a year due to the Super Eagles poor performances and there had been rumours of his sack for weeks, but the NFF only confirmed it last night following a meeting with the sports minister last week.
Eguavoen is now expected to lead the Super Eagles to next year’s African Cup of Nations, which begins in less than a month in Cameroon. A former Gent defender was Nigeria’s coach between 2005 and 2007, Eguavoen has also caretaker coach in 2010 and will be assisted by Salisu Yusuf, Paul Aigbogun and Joseph Yobo.