2021 Africa Cup Of Nations Is coming to Nigeria – Westerhof
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By Vitus Michael
Clemens Westerhof, the coach who led Nigeria’s Super Eagles to win their second Africa Cup of Nations AFCON in 1994 has disclosed that the 2021 AFCON trophy is coming back to Nigeria.
Nigeria last lifted the continental diadem 9 years ago in South Africa.
After watching the Super Eagles defeat Egypt 1-0 in the opening Group D match on Tuesday, the Dutchman said he was proud of Coach Augustine Eguavoen and his style of play.
“Austin Eguavoen made me proud,” Westerhof said as reported by Vanguard.
“I’m so proud of him that I think the Cup is coming to Nigeria. The boys were strong, very strong like they were in my days in Nigeria. Sometimes we trained three times a day. I made the boys strong. I noticed that Nigerians are very physical and strong, so I made them stronger. You must use what you have. I think Eguavoen is doing the same thing.
“I tell you, the boys I saw against Egypt can win the cup. But I tell you, on this moment, the big job Eguavoen must do now is to make them a family. They must be together, eat together, play together, all players must see themselves as brothers. That way they fight for each other on and off the field. The job now is to hold the team together. He must ensure discipline.”
He advised Eguavoen, who is on interim capacity, to avoid distractions from government officials and ensure complete discipline in the team.
“He must be the policeman of the team. He should police them well, no beer, no women, no distractions. Then he must protect them from government officials. Now Nigeria may want to send delegations. Some may even come when they are training and they will stop training because the minister wants to talk with them.
“No way; that must not happen. Government officials can pass their message through the federation, they must leave the players now to concentrate. They must not be in the same hotel with the players. The most difficult job now is how to hold them together as a family and protect them from many officials who may cause unnecessary distractions.”
Shortly after Eguavoen received Westerhof’s message, he thanked the Dutch and revealed that he adopted Westerhof’s approach in the management of the players.
Late Stephen Keshi said same thing when he coached the Super Eagles.
Recall that Eguavoen was oke of the key defenders Westerhof used to win the 1994 AFCON and qualified the country to the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
Nigeria ranked 5 in the world after the USA ’94 World Cup where they were rated joint most entertaining side with Brazil.
The Super Eagles on Saturday booked their passage into the last l6 of the 2021 AFCON with a 3-1 victory against Sudan.