Despite failing to qualify the Super Eagles for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, Austin Eguavoen is still dreaming of another chance to lead the team, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
Eguavoen had coached the team to a bronze medal place at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations, before serving in interim capacity in 2010, after the departure of Lars Lagerback, before Samson Siasia was appointed.
The 56-year-old, who stepped down from his position as interim coach of the Eagles after archrivals Ghana forced Nigeria to a 1-1 draw in Abuja, to qualify for Qatar 2022 on the away goal rule, insisted he remained one of the best coaches in the country.
“If there is still an opportunity for me, I will want to coach the Eagles again, but not at this moment, maybe later,” Eguavoen said during SuperSports’ program, Monday Night Football.
“If I’m called upon to lead the team again, I will definitely take up the job. I’m still one of the good coaches in the country. I can still prove a point it’s just a matter of time.
“No regrets taking up the job. When you are called to serve the nation I could not refuse them.”
Eguavoen also blamed his side’s lack of character and courage in the second leg in Abuja as a major reason they lost the game.
“We lacked the character, zeal to beat Ghana when it mattered most,” he added.
“The Ghanaians showed they wanted it more than our boys and that was why it ended that way. We didn’t do any of that. We did not fight or push enough for the winner and how do you do that? It is with fast-paced football, creating chances but that didn’t happen.
“In Kumasi, the Ghanaians were better but in Abuja, the Eagles were the better side but could not win.
“The games between Ghana and Nigeria are always very difficult. If we had lost in Kumasi or in Abuja, I would have regarded myself as a failure but we lost on away goal. We didn’t lose the game but we lost the ticket to qualify for the World Cup.”
He also debunked claims that he was fired by the NFF, insisting he resigned from his position.
“After the game, there were lots of emotions running through and after 48 hours I wrote to the NFF thanking them for the opportunity they gave me to lead the team. The target was to qualify for the World Cup but we did not achieve that, hence I stepped down and went back to my office as Technical Director of the NFF.”
He recorded four wins, two draws and a defeat during his three-month spell at the Eagles helm.