Eguavoen Confesses: I Gambled Against Ghana


Former Nigeria head coach Augustine Eguavoen has admitted to rolling the dice when he brought on four strikers against Ghana in the second leg of their ill-fated 2022 World Cup playoff tie.

After playing out to a goalless draw in Kumasi on March 25, the Super Eagles had their backs to the wall when Thomas Partey gave the Black Stars a 10th-minute lead in Abuja four days later.

William Troost-Ekong restored parity from the penalty spot on 22 minutes, but the hosts needed to score again in order to progress to the showpiece event in Qatar later this year.

With time running out, Eguavoen introduced Moses Simon, Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo and Sadiq Umar in an attempt to turn the Nigerians’ fortunes around.

The 56-year-old was eventually sacked for his failure to guide the national team to the World Cup finals, with the Nigeria Football Federation yet to name his replacement.
Eguavoen appeared on SuperSport’s Monday Night Football and acknowledged that he gambled with those substitutions.

“Yes (I gambled) because we had to resort to a back three where we now had defensive midfielders sitting maybe one or two and then add more strikers and then we can play from the side because Sadiq is quite tall, Osimhen is fast, tall and energetic as well, very quick,” he said.

“If we had more numbers in attack and then play the ball wide, and get crosses in, sometimes reverse pass to the midfield player to run in, that’s also a possibility but you cannot continue to play with a back four or five when you know you have to win the game. We just needed one more goal.”