AFCON 2023: Three-time Super Eagles coach optimistic about Nigeria’s title prospects in Ivory Coast

The former Gent star and Torpedo Moscow was a key member of Nigeria’s title-winning squad at Tunisia ’94

Former Nigeria international Austin Eguavoen has expressed his confidence in the capabilities of the current Super Eagles squad, affirming their potential to secure victory in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations scheduled in Côte d’Ivoire next year, reports.

Nigeria are three-time winners of the AFCON, with the West African giants riding to victories in 1980, 1994, and 2013.

Eguavoen was one of Nigeria’s most dependable defenders during the triumph in 1994, and he coached the team to a bronze-medal finish in 2006.

However, the Super Eagles have since faced significant challenges in reclaiming the title following their last win against Burkina Faso a decade ago in South Africa.

With one of the most formidable attacking lineups on the continent, Nigeria are expected to be a strong contender in the 2023 tournament.

The Super Eagles have been drawn in Group A alongside hosts Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea.

Ahead of the championship, the former champions secured a 3-2 victory over Mozambique and played out a 2-2 draw against Saudi Arabia in friendly matches held in Portugal as part of their preparations.

In a chat on Brila FM, Eguavoen, who has managed the Eagles on three occasions, emphasised the challenging nature of securing the continental title.

He stated, “We have been craving to try to get the Nations Cup back, since 2013 we’ve not been able to achieve that feat because we know we have the capacity, we have the quality and everything to be able to win it.

“But to say it is easy to achieve it is another thing, so everybody has to work towards the same goal, support the team whichever way we can, support the coaches, and the players have to go out there and do the job.”

Before the Cup of Nations kick-off, Nigeria’s immediate focus will be on the two 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers scheduled for November.

The Super Eagles will host South African minnows Lesotho before travelling to Harare to trade tackles with Zimbabwe.