SUPER EAGLES

Augustine Eguavoen report card – critically examining the Nigeria coach's performance so far

How has Augustine Eguavoen fared in three months and six games since he replaced Gernot Rohr as Super Eagles’ head coach?

Augustine Eguavoen

Augustine Eguavoen replaced Gernot Rohr as the Super Eagles head coach in December 2021 and has overseen six games in his latest spell in charge.

We will be grading Eguavoen on five key coaching parameters all individually rated between 0 and 10. Those parameters include tactical ability, reaction, philosophy, attitude and most importantly, results.

Eguavoen's tactical ability comprises of how the team attacks and defends, essentially the intricacies of how the Super Eagles have carried out offensive and defensive duties in his three months in charge.

In this regard, Eguavoen has been pretty average and that's putting it kindly but perhaps six games is too small a sample size to judge.

The evidence of his last two games, both draws against Ghana shows that there is a disconnect between Eguavoen's ability to read the game and the implementation of his ideas by his players for reasons only him or the players know.

He has had his good moments, his first game against Egypt was very good, he displayed the tactical nous required to neutralise the Egyptians but the opponents were not particularly good at the time too which sort of undermines the result.

If he does keep his job long enough to coach the Super Eagles in more games, then perhaps he will have enough time to fully implement his ideas but for now it's bang average.

SCORE: 5/10

This speaks to Eguavoen's adaptability and ability to make changes based on what is happening or has happened.

Reactions include substitutions, tactical adjustments both pre and in-game and factoring in the opposition in his team selection which Eguavoen has excelled at so far.

Because he's so good at reading the game, Eguavoen reacts quite well, almost always making the right substitutions or dropping a starter for someone else in subsequent games based on a poor performance.

Unlike his predecessor, Eguavoen is not rigid at all, he comes across as someone who listens and is not close minded which can't be said for most coaches.

SCORE: 8/10

All great coaches in the world have a clear philosophy, their basic ideology of football on which all tactics and formations are built, what is Eguavoen's?

At this point, only he can really answer that because his six games with the Super Eagles have not offered any insight into his philosophy.

Even the much-maligned Gernot Rohr had a football philosophy, we just didn't like it because it was negative but he did have one which is more than can be said about Eguavoen.

Having watched all six games in the last three months, it's still almost impossible to decipher if Eguavoen wants his team to keep possession like Guardiola, press like Klopp, defend and counter like Mourinho etc.

To give him the benefit of the doubt, it is important to note that three months is a short time as a national team coach, the players spend the majority of their time at their clubs which leaves Eguavoen with some days to work with them.

Perhaps that's what makes it difficult for him to instill a philosophy in this team and implement it on the pitch.

SCORE: 2/10

Eguavoen came into this job few days to the AFCON with Nigerian football in disarray and most people don't give him enough credit for somewhat steadying the ship to an extent.

The coach has a knack for saying the right things and relating to his players in a modern way. His attitude has been great so far, never complaining despite having multiple reasons to do so.

He gets the full score for this, he really has been a class act so far with the right attitude and approach to the Super Eagles job.

SCORE: 10/10

By far the most important parameter, all of the above would not matter too much if the results were bad which explains why there is speculation that Eguavoen may not be in charge for much longer.

To be fair, the results of games under him have not been particularly bad for the Super Eagles having lost just one of his six games in charge.

But that one defeat sent Nigeria out of AFCON 2021 prematurely which renders his three wins useless.

The other two games ended in draws against Ghana (let's not rehash the details) leaving him with a 50% win ratio in his second spell.

So it's not that the results have been woeful under Eguavoen even though it feels like it, it's the gravity of the three games he failed to win that stands against him.

Early elimination from the AFCON and failure to qualify for the World Cup seems like a lot to lose in just six games.

SCORE: 3/10

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