Shouts of joy, mixed with emotions rent the air around 7pm (WAT) on Tuesday evening. The Super Eagles were super again, as Nigerians took the streets, websites, social media and anywhere they could reach to hail their national team’s performance against the all-time champions of Africa – The Pharaohs of Egypt.
‘Clear road for Eagle wey sabi’, so was match winner Kelechi Iheanacho dubbed. Seniorman Kels netted a half volley which rocketed past Egypt goalie Gomaa. Another brilliant performer was Moses Simon who showed why he was being tagged ‘Nigerian Messi’ by his fans some years back as he danced his way down the left wing alot of times. In fact Egypt’s right back who started the game went off injured in the fifth minute, it would be later confirmed the player will be out for four to six months.
Kenneth Omeruo who got stretchered off late in the game was on star forward Mohammed Salah as well as Ola Aina playing the modern day attacking right back role. Much credit was given to the central midfield which staged Rangers’ Joe Aribo alongside Leicester’s Wilfred Ndidi.
The man most plaudits were heaped upon was the coach Austin Owen Eguavoen dubbed Cerezo. Many Nigerians praised the man who had only taken the job last month for what he has begun to carve out from the Eagles side even though he doesn’t have some of the best legs in the squad.
Many had lost interest in watching Nigeria play over the years due to disapointment but were amazed at the way the Eagles dominated the Egyptians. Even foreigners and analysts have said that Nigeria is the first favourite team in the tournament to play up to expectations as other sides like Algeria, Senegal, Ghana, Morocco and even hosts Cameroon haven’t played up to what was expected from them.
Millions of Nigerian fans took to any online space they saw to commend the Eagles’ performance.
The following are some of the comments.
The match clearly showed the resurgence of the lost wing football the Super Eagles were known for back in the day.
Regrettably, that will be short lived by the takeover of Paseiro in the next one month.Olusegun Moses Alli via Ojbsports.com
So happy Rohr has been replaced by Eguavoen.
We’re finally playing a brand of football I can get behind.
It’s been so long since I’ve seen a Nigeria team dominate a game playing positive, progressive football.
Victory for The Super Eagles over the pharaohs. The Egyptians we see today, we shall see no more
Rhor made Eagles look shambolic,lacked cohesion and made the team look like a village team, yet he pocketed $45k every month for 5yrs. But Eguavoen in a month had a better team to give us joy. We need to call Rhor back and sack him again
Our boys disappointed them.🤣
Asides the win, I love the way Super Eagles played tonight.
All thanks to Eguavoen. Rhor would have made them played touch and follow inshallah.😀
Talk about the smooth transition of youth players into the national team.
Iheanacho and Awoniyi both played together in the U-17 WC years ago.
They started upfront for #TeamNigeria against Egypt in the #AFCON2021
@67Kelechi x @taiwoawoniyi18
Austin Eguavoen for the records is the only man to have won his three group stage games at the AFCON. He did it in 2006 defeating Ghana, Zimbabwe and Senegal.
However, whatever Eguavoen will bring from Cameroon, it is likely to be short-lived as a foreign manager in Jose Peseiro has been appointed by the NFF to take charge after the tournament.
With all favorites except Nigeria playing below expectations so far, Nigerians are asking, could Eguavoen be the man to deliver us the fourth Afcon title?