The super Eagles are in Garoua and had their first training on Thursday under the watchful eyes of interim manager, Augustine Eguavoen.
Eguavoen, a former Super Eagles captain, revealed the pressure he is under but added the caveat that he is also relaxed because of the attitude of the players to training.
“Pressure? Yes obviously.
“Even if it is [Jose] Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, biggest coaches in the world, Gernot Rohr you can’t say you’re not under pressure. It is like [Manchester] City-probably one of the best teams in the world right now playing one of the best brand of football under Guardiola, who is one coach I adore in the world because his approach is very different; but he has not been able to win the Champions League with Man City.
“So you can’t say he isn’t under pressure because he wants to win it. So people are saying yes, they expect Nigeria to win AFCON so it keeps me under some pressure but I will take it, will digest, and take it game after game because it is not going to be easy because every team that has come here have come to prove a point.”
Eguavoen revealed his pleasure at the quality of the training pitch and also the weather after the first training session.
The first training was about an hour and 15 minutes. ”We couldn’t do everything we wanted to because of the time factor but however, we are very impressed because the field is also very good, the weather is good and the boys responded very well. We are happy,” he revealed.
Eguavoen said a part of his philosophy is to have individual interactive sessions with players before convening them as a group.
“The way I operate is I like interactive sessions. I’ve my own philosophy, way of doing things. I will try and make you understand why I want you to do that way and we’ve been preaching that from day one and the boys understand me now.
“The boys have never shown any sign of cohesive grievance [against my methods]. They have been happy and they have been responding very well. I’ve spoken with a couple of them in the aircraft yesterday coming here because there was no time to do that in Abuja. I think we went to bed about 2 a.m this morning I spoke to a few and I will still speak with some this evening before we have a collective session.
“I think they are very pleased and their attitude towards the training sessions have been awesome, really professional.
“First game is very crucial to any team, it will give you a lot of encouragement, going into the tournament proper. I will say a little bit but I’m more relaxed now than two weeks or a week ago,” he concluded.
Nigeria’s first game is against seven-time champions, Egypt on January 11.
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