Egypt were afraid of Eagles – Aikhuomogbe

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Egypt never believed they could beat Nigeria in their Gabon 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying double-header, says former Super Eagles goalkeeper Andrew Aikhuomogbe.

Italy-based Mohamed Salah snatched a last-gasp 1-1 draw for the Pharaohs in  their first leg Group G class in Kaduna on March 25  to help the seven-time African champions maintain their two-point lead  in the table.  And they ended the  Eagles’ Gabon 2017 qualification hopes after the North Africans won maximum points with  Ramadan Sobhy’s second-half strike in the reverse fixture in Alexandria four days later to open a five-point at the top group with a game left to play.

Aikhuomogbe, who had predicted victory for Nigeria over Egypt in the two-legged fixture, lamented the Eagles  failed to live up to expectations in the qualifiers. He said  the Pharaohs  felt inferior to the Eagles ahead of the encounters and had conceeded victory to the three-time African champions.

“They were  afraid of Nigeria – and they never believed they could pick up a point, not to talk of beating us in the  matches,” the Egypt-based former BCC Lions custodian told our correspondent on the telephone on Saturday.

“The  double-header was a hot topic of discussion in the country. Egyptian  radio and television stations focused on the matches.

“The Egyptian media and fans  still believed  the Eagles would win in Alexandria, in spite of the fact that their  team got a good result in Kaduna.

“The manager (Hector Cuper) and the  players were afraid  of the Eagles.   The media  and fans  were afraid of our players.

“The Egyptians were surprised their team got a point in Kaduna and beat us in Alexandria.”

The Cairo-based football agent   said   the Eagles’ caretaker coach  Samson Siasia  should not be blamed for the country’s failure to qualify  for  Gabon 2017, saying  the former Nigeria attacker distinguished himself in his short time with the team.

Aikhuomogbe, who is  backing  Nigeria to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia,  urged the Nigeria Football Federation to encourage homegrown coaches by giving them a free hand to plan and execute their programmes.

The former Shooting Stars keeper  added, “If the NFF insists on appointing a foreign coach,  they have my support. But we should not downplay the achievements of Nigerian coaches.”

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