Super Eagles interim Head Coach and Technical Director of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Augustine Eguavoen has outlined how he wants all the national teams to play going forward.
The 56-year-old former Enyimba handler was on Sunday handed the Eagles job on an interim basis, following the sack of Franco-German tactician Gernot Rohr, who spent over 5 years at the helm.
Renowned for their robust kind of attacking football, anchored on efficient wing-play in the past, the Eagles soared to African Cup of Nations titles in 1980, 1994 and 2013, and also reached the last 16 in their maiden World Cup appearance 27 years ago in the USA.
With great wingers like Segun Odegbami, Adokiye Amiesimaka, Humphrey Edobor, Friday Elaho, Emmanuel Amuneke, Finidi George and Tijani Babangida, the Eagles thrived on wing-play back in the day, but Eguavoen believes there is need for the current team to be ‘flexible’.
“You have to use players that are available at a particular time,” the ex-Gent defender said. “And we all know, before now, what made Nigerian teams successful.
“In the eras of (Segun) Odegbami, he was very speedy, Adokiye Amiesimaka was not so speedy, but technically, very strong. And we had Finidi George, we had (Sam) Okpodu, we had (Tijani) Babangida, Humphrey Edobor on the left side and also (Emmanuel) Amuneke and so on and so forth. And we had top strikers and one playing behind them.
“But we have to be flexible also. You cannot be rigid in your formation.
“So, our philosophy is going to be based on, first of all, wing play, strength, technique and football intelligence.
“So, that’s what we are trying to build now from the grassroots, because it is not something you just bring in.”
Eguavoen, who led Nigeria to a third-place finish at the 2006 AFCON in Egypt, also highlighted the importance of building a playing philosophy from the grassroots.
“But our grassroots now, we have to let them know from a very young age, how we want (them to play) and the kind of players that we want,” he added.
“So, the quality we are looking for in players….you have to be intelligent, you have to be quick and you have to be strong.
“So, once we put that together, whoever that is coming in can now have a formation based on all those qualities.”