The Super Eagles interim coach Austin Eguavoen has said the players who were called up to the squad but opted out did not fight enough for their country.
Eguavoen, who represented Nigeria at the 1994 WorldCup and won the AFCON same year, said they also had to battle out their way with their club sides during their playing days because it is an honour and privilege to represent the country.
He said,” We have to respect people’s opinions, but there are regulations to release players.
“It boils down to the individual players. You have to fight for it. We also battle such when we were playing, and we fought it because it’s a privilege and honour to play for your country.”
Austin Eguavoen not Seeking Personal Glory
The former Super Eagles player has also stated that he is not after former manager the late Stephen Keshi’s record.
Keshi won the AFCON title as a player in 1994 and as a coach in 2013 to equal Egyptian Mahmoud El Gohary’s record, who won the second edition of the tournament in 1959 as a player before guiding the Pharaohs to their fourth title in 1998.
In his pre-match press conference on Monday, Eguavoen said, “It’s not about the individual, it’s about the team, it’s about the country.
“I’m not looking at personal glory to say, ‘hey, listen, I want to be the coach alive to have won the Nations Cup as a player and as a coach.’
“I’m looking at what I can do for my country and leave a legacy. It’s not about the individual. It’s a collective thing.”
Austin Eguavoen will lead the Eagles out for the ninth time against seven-times record winner Egypt at the Roumde Adjia Stadium on Tuesday (today) by 5 pm and will be gunning to win their fourth AFCON title.