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Sports News of Wednesday, 5 January 2022


Eagles not scared of Egypt’s Mo Salah - Awoniyi

Mo Salah Mo Salah

Union Berlin forward, Taiwo Awoniyi has boasted that the Super Eagles are not fazed by the personality of Mohamed Salah when Nigeria open their Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Garoua in Cameroon on January 11.

The former U-17 scoring machine was one of the 14 national team players that trained yesterday evening at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja under the watch of coach Austin Eguavoen.

He stocked the traditional rivalry between Nigeria and Egypt, saying there was nothing special about the Pharaohs’ wide man.

“I think man for man, we have (Wilfred) Ndidi, (Kelechi) Iheanacho and Ahmed Musa. We have the same calibre of players as well. I think the national team is a team we should be proud of.

“With due respect to Mo Salah, I think we also are individuals with great talent and we should be ready for the Africa Cup of Nations challenge,” Awoniyi said.

He insisted the Eagles won’t settle for anything than winning the continent’s flagship tournament because national pride is at stake in Cameroon, saying: “What we can do for ourselves is to take each game as it comes and be ready to fight for the country”.

The 24-year-old striker, summed up his surprised inclusion in the Nigeria’s Africa Cup Nations party as an honour and priviledge. He said he takes pride and feels happy about being in the team.

Also Orlando Pirates defender, Olisa Ndah, who trained last night, said he was not under any pressure whatsoever in the national team.

The former Akwa United central defender, whose father, Ndubuisi, was a former member of Nigeria’s U-23 team in 1996, described his inclusion in the squad as a dream come true and a reward for hard work.

“It’s a priviledge to be here. It is everybody’s dream to play for his national team. My father played his part for the national team and I am here to play my part. I am really happy. I don t feel any pressure coming here. I am here because I have been working so hard for my team,” Ndah said.

Meanwhile interim coach Eguavoen disclosed after last night’s workout that he had watched some video matches involving Nigeria’s Group D opponents- Sudan, Egypt and Guinea Bissau.

He said although the technical crew had dissected some of Egypt’s clips, they were still looking to possess more of such materials because the Pharoahs do not approach all matches the same way.

Eguavoen expressed optimism of having a camp full of players by the end of today as some of the players left their Europe bases last night.

The former international player said he was more relaxed on the role now than he was two weeks ago, when he battled jitters following his appointment into the role in an interim capacity after Gernot Rohr was relieved of his appointment.

“It is an exciting job and a bit tough because it was not something I was expecting. So I had to like swallow it, digest it and relax and it is coming. Whatever happens is something we have decided to do. I am more relaxed than I was two weeks ago or a week ago. I think we have to strategise now and deploy the way we want to play,” Eguavoen said.

He also admitted that the demands from Nigerians will put the team under extra pressure in Cameroon because the public expect the team to always win the Nations Cup.