‘They did very well’ – Eguavoen lauds Nigeria’s Afcon debutants against Egypt – Goal.com

Nine Super Eagles made their bow at the biennial African football showpiece against the North Africans on Tuesday evening

Coach Augustine Eguavoen has scored Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations debutants highly, stating ‘they did very well’ in the 1-0 triumph over Egypt.

Kelechi Iheanacho, Taiwo Awoniyi, Maduka Okoye, Sadiq Umar, Zaidu Sanusi, Joe Aribo, Semi Ajayi, Chidera Ejuke and Kelechi Nwakali played their first match in the competition as the three-time African kings subdued the Pharaohs.

Incidentally, it was first-timers Aribo and Iheanacho who combined well to propel the West Africans past Carlos Queiroz’s team at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua.

Examining their performance after the hard-fought victory, Eguavoen is pleased with their display – judging by the fact that the Pharaohs boast Mohamed Salah and a seasoned tactician in Queiroz.

“They did very well because playing against Egypt – who are seven-time African champions, with one of the best players in the world and also one of the best managers in the world – is not an easy feat,” he told GOAL.

“Pulling up a win against Egypt was a surprise to many people but that was not a surprise to us.

“We respected them, and we put in all our best to secure victory today.

“I told the new boys ‘play every game like you are going to play a final’, so we will take it game after game.

“This game is gone, we have forgotten about it and we will focus on our next game.”

Prior to this encounter, Egypt are unbeaten in each of their last 16 group matches in the competition (12 wins and four draws) – with that loss dating back to 2004.

There, they bowed 2-0 to Algeria in their second group game with Maamar Mamouni and Hocine Achiou getting the goals at the Stade Olympique de Sousse.

Nigeria try Sudan for size in their second Group D encounter on Saturday and victory over Burhan Tia’s Falcons of Jediane will see the 2013 African kings through to the Round of 16 with a game to spare.

For the North Africans, they must defeat Guinea-Bissau in their second game to fancy their chances of reaching the knockout phase as they target a record eighth African title in Cameroon.

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