Posted by Nelson Dafe, Benin City | 15 August 2014 | 3,350 times
It was a game billed as the battle of the Edo coaches. Just a few months ago both Austin Eguavoen and Solomon Ogbeide were working together in Benin City, their hometown, as Technical Adviser and Chief Coach respectively of professional division one side Insurance FC. But the poor financial situation in the Benin Arsenal forced them out.
On Saturday, August 9, in a Nigerian Premier League fixture, both coaches locked horns against one another with their respective clubs at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in Benin City. Eguavoen is coach of Gombe United while Ogbeide is in charge of Bayelsa United.
After going a goal up in the first half, Eguavoen gave a powerful talk to his lads at half time.
This reporter had access to the Gombe United dressing room as Eguavoen offered a concise tactical analysis to his players on how they should neutralise the Bayelsa team who were the home side following their banishment from Yenogoa.
Eguavoen asked his full backs to always block their bylines, thereby go racing the skillful Bayelsa wingers to cut infield where a Gombe midfielder would be rushing in ambush.
Eguavoen then asked his players to play very safe at the back and be extra vigilant because, according to him, the Nigerian Premier League officials were always under intense pressure to favour the home team.
Just as the second half beckoned, Eguavoen then urged his players to secure the three points, which, he stressed, would give them the psychological boost to go ahead and gather more points that would help them battle the relegation that is currently threatening them.
Gombe United would go on to hold off attempts by Bayelsa to equalise in the second half despite the very questionable many minutes added after regulation time by the centre referee.
After the game, Eguavoen was mobbed and carried shoulder-high by Benin fans who hailed him for the beautiful football displayed by his team in winning away, which is extremely hard in the Nigerian league.
As Eguavoen walked up to shake hands with his fellow Edo man Ogbeide in the opposite dugout in a show of sportsmanship after the match, not a few at the Sam Ogbemudia Stadium believed that Eguavoen is, at the moment, Benin City’s best coach.
•Photo shows Gombe United Coach Austin Eguavoen.
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