No Push Overs In African Football Again – Alloy Agu
Super Eagles assistant coach, Alloy Agu, said the team must approach the group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations with all seriousness after the team was grouped alongside two debutants, Madagascar and Burundi alongside Guinea in Group B of the 2019 AFCON in Egypt:
What are your thoughts on the draws that put Super Eagles in the same group as debutants, Madagascar and Burundi, alongside Guinea?
All the teams that qualified for AFCON are all good sides, and also the best on the continent. That’s why they got the ticket to be there in the first place.
They are all top teams as there are no push overs again in Africa football, so all the teams are good and we have to approach them in the same spirit having it at the back of our mind that they are all formidable sides, likewise Nigeria.
We cannot afford to underrate them or belittle them because they have played series of games and done well.
Nigerians would be impatient with losing. How will Eagles approach Egypt 2019 AFCON?
The approach has been spelt out right from the qualifiers. Everyone involved - the government, the Nigeria Football Federation, the technical crew and all Nigerians - have to be solidly behind the team.
The team knew what was at stake, which was the qualification ticket at the initial stage, and they achieved that.
They are going with the same attitude to Egypt knowing full well that all the teams going to Egypt are all top sides.
They are all top teams as there are no push overs again in Africa football, so all the teams are good and we have to approach them in the same spirit having it at the back of our mind that they are all formidable sides
With 24 teams competing at this year’s championship, there is going to be the round of 16 that was not the case in the past. How far do you see Eagles going in Egypt?
Like I said earlier, all the teams that made it to Egypt will want to win the trophy; and so too the Super Eagles. We want to go all the way and win our fourth title and make Nigeria proud and we will go ahead and do that.
There was news of friendlies against Ghana and another country. Are two friendlies good enough?
Ghana is part of the team that will be playing in Egypt, they are a solid side that have won the AFCON several times; playing against them will give us the opportunity to see what the team can do against such a top side. The game will do us good.
The goalkeeping department continues to be a big concern. What are you doing to rectify that?
We still have about two months to AFCON and we are still looking at several options because the national team is for all good Nigerians.
Anyone doing well will have the opportunity of wearing the team’s jersey, but we should not forget that the current goalkeepers in the team: Francis Uzoho, Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi, have all done well for the team.
But the most important thing is for all our players, right from the goalkeepers, the defenders, midfielders and attackers to be in good health and form when AFCON commences in June.