Augustine Eguavoen, Nigeria’s temporary coach, has been crowned the best manager in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations group stage by the Confederation of African Football.
After the group stage of AFCON 2021, CAF announced on its website that its Technical Study Group had shortlisted the Best of the Group Stage.
He was recognized for winning all three of his group matches.
The Nigerian team, captained by Eguavoen, has performed admirably in the present Africa Cup of Nations.
Nigeria had sailed into the Round of 16 as group leaders with a game to spare, thanks to victories over Egypt and Sudan in their two matches, as well as a slew of other results, including Egypt’s victory over Guinea Bissau on Saturday.
Despite this, the team overcame Guinea Bissau 2-0 to complete the group stage with a perfect record.
Apart from Eguavoen, others who won awards are:
- Surprise Team: Comoros
- Revelation Team: Equatorial Guinea, Gambia
- Best Player: Vincent Abubakar (Cameroon)
- Best Scorer: Vincent Abubakar (Cameroon)
- Best Young Player: Ilaix Moriba (Guinea)
- Best Goalkeeper: Mohamed Elshennawy (Egypt)
Former Eagles captain Eguavoen captained the Nigeria senior team for 11 years, from 1987 to 1998, during which time he won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994, held aloft the Afro-Asian Cup the following year, played in three AFCON finals (it could have been six, but he missed the 1990 finals in Algeria; Nigeria withdrew from the 1996 finals; and was barred from the 1998 competition) and appeared at the 1994 and 1998 FIFA World Cups. He has 51 senior caps to his name.
When Nigeria finished third in the 2004 championships in Tunisia, Eguavoen was an assistant coach to another former captain Christian Chukwu, and then coached the team to another bronze in Egypt two years later. He is one of just 15 indigenous coaches in charge of Nigeria’s Senior Men’s National Team, as well as one of only 15 African coaches in the Cameroon finals.
The tough-as-nails defender has the best win-loss record with the Super Eagles as Head Coach, winning nine of his 12 matches in charge between 2005 and 2007, and is one of only three African coaches to reach the top ten of the FIFA rankings (the other two are Clemens Westerhof and Egypt’s Hassan Shehata).
When his wards thrashed Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Senegal in Egypt 16 years ago, Eguavoen broke the record of being the only Nigeria coach to lead the Super Eagles to win all three group phase matches at the AFCON.