Former Super Eagles defender Austin Eguavoen has said that inexperience was the main reason Nigeria was bundled out of the 1994 FIFA World Cup in USA.
The Eagles were 1-nil up going into the final moments of the highly tensed encounter against Italy, but conceded an equalizer in the 88th minute following Roberto Baggio’s effort to force an extra-time.
Nigeria would then go on to lose the game following Baggio’s winner after Eguavoen fouled Italian maestro Antonio Benarrivo in the 18-yard box.
Recently, there has been different reactions as to why the team was eliminated from the tournament with former Super Eagles technical adviser Bonfrere Jo coming out to say the match was sold by coach Clemens Westerhof.
However, Eguavoen who had 49 caps for Nigeria before hanging his boots in 1998, believes Eagles’ elimination was purely down to inexperience.
The former defender also added that Nigeria could have gone on to win the tournament if not for their naivety.
“If not for inexperience, we could have gone on to win the World Cup in 1994 as debutants,” he told spnafrica.com.
“I say inexperience because we’ve never been there before. For experience, if you’ve been doing something for a very long time, you will know what to do at every particular time.
“I put the blame on the entire team, not just us but the management as well. In as much as I have been praising (Clemens) Westerhof, he and the technical crew could have managed the game better if they were experienced enough.
“Time management because before Italy got that equaliser, the time had gone. When I started my coaching career I made the same mistake but I started adjusting. I didn’t know that then, but if Westerhof had changed the pattern of play and reversed the formation, or tell players to go down (we would have had a different result).”