4th December, 2011
Nigeria’s Under-23 coach Austin Eguavoen has quit after failing to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games.
BBC Sports reports that the so-called ‘Dream Team V’ crashed out in the group stages of the qualifying tournament in Morocco after losing twice and winning just once.
The 46-year-old leaves after Nigeria, runners-up at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, finished third.
In a resignation letter, Eguavoen cited the qualifying failure for the London Games as his reason to quit.
“I hereby resign my post as coach of the national U23 team despite all the support I received from the NFF,” Eguavoen told the NFF.
“I’m so sorry I couldn’t make it. I think it’s just honourable for me to resign after failing to meet the set targets.”
In a press statement, the former Nigeria international thanked the NFF and fellow Nigerians for their support and the opportunity to serve.
“I apologise to Nigerians for our disappointing outing. I had confidence in this team, unfortunately it didn’t turn out the way we wanted. I am deeply sorry,” Eguavoen was quoted as saying.
“My contract is tied to this tournament with a target of reaching at least the semi-finals of the Olympics in London, but I have failed in that target.
“I thank every Nigerian for being there for me and giving me all the support needed.”
Chris Green, the chairman of the NFF’s technical committee, confirmed the receipt of Eguavoen’s letter to BBC Sport.
The Olympic disappointment completed a dark year for football followers in Africa’s most populous country after country and club failures.
In October, Nigeria failed to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
It marked the first time the Super Eagles had failed to qualify for a Nations Cup finals since the 1986 edition in Egypt.
Meanwhile, the Super Falcons, the most successful womens side in Africa, failed to qualify for the 2011 All Africa Games as well as the London Olympics.
And they may have won the World Cup trophy thrice but Nigeria’s U-17 side could not even qualify for the African championship.
In August, the Flying Eagles then lost in the quarter-final of the Under-20 World Cup in Colombia, while at club level, both Enyimba and Sunshine Stars made semi-final exits in the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup respectively.