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Afcon 2021: Eguavoen on how he applied ‘basketball tactics’ to stop Salah in Nigeria win

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The Liverpool star struggled to make a mark against the Super Eagles in a Group D match played on Tuesday

Nigeria caretaker coach Augustine Eguavoen has revealed how his charges managed to stop Egypt dangerman captain Mohamed Salah from causing havoc in their recent 1-0 win in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) assignment.

The Liverpool star struggled to make a mark against the Super Eagles in a Group D match played on Tuesday

Nigeria caretaker coach Augustine Eguavoen has revealed how his charges managed to stop Egypt dangerman captain Mohamed Salah from causing havoc in their recent 1-0 win in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) assignment.

The tactician has now explained why it was tough for the Liverpool star to cause problems for the West Africans.

“In terms of preparation and strategy, we had a special plan for Mohamed Salah because we know his quality,” Eguavoen told BBC Sport Africa.

“Basketball is one game that I love so much. When you are playing against the likes of Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan and others, if you don’t double-team you’ll have a problem.

“That is the same strategy that I bring into football. So when Mo Salah is with the ball, the closest person goes to him and the next person has to double-team to make him play back.

“It worked for us like 80%, but Salah broke loose on one or two occasions which is normal, but again congratulations to the boys because they are so intelligent.”

The former champions had come into the tournament without their stars Victor Osimhen, Leon Balogun, Shehu Abdullahi, Odion Ighalo and Emmanuel Dennis owing to varying reasons.

Some people had even written them off, but after their game against the Pharaohs, the stance has been relaxed.

“Let’s not go too far ahead of ourselves. But I am extremely proud of the boys,” Eguavoen continued.

“There were comments and stuff being said about them before the tournament but they are absolutely professional. When you tell them something it sinks in immediately and that is a good thing we’ve got going well for us.

The tactician has now explained why it was tough for the Liverpool star to cause problems for the West Africans.

“In terms of preparation and strategy, we had a special plan for Mohamed Salah because we know his quality,” Eguavoen told BBC Sport Africa.

“Basketball is one game that I love so much. When you are playing against the likes of Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan and others, if you don’t double-team you’ll have a problem.

“That is the same strategy that I bring into football. So when Mo Salah is with the ball, the closest person goes to him and the next person has to double-team to make him play back.

“It worked for us like 80%, but Salah broke loose on one or two occasions which is normal, but again congratulations to the boys because they are so intelligent.”

The former champions had come into the tournament without their stars Victor Osimhen, Leon Balogun, Shehu Abdullahi, Odion Ighalo and Emmanuel Dennis owing to varying reasons.

Some people had even written them off, but after their game against the Pharaohs, the stance has been relaxed.

“Let’s not go too far ahead of ourselves. But I am extremely proud of the boys,” Eguavoen continued.

“There were comments and stuff being said about them before the tournament but they are absolutely professional. When you tell them something it sinks in immediately and that is a good thing we’ve got going well for us.

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