Ahead of the Super Eagles second game of AFCON 2023 against Ivory Coast, the team coach spoke about the situation in camp and their chances of securing victory against the Elephants.
The Elephants sit atop Group A with three points after a 2-0 win over Guinea Bissau in their first game. It makes the game against the hosts on Thursday a must-win for the Super Eagles following their 1-1 draw with Equatorial Guinea.
The Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro, did not sound optimistic about the chances of his side when they take to the pitch on Thursday.
The Portuguese gaffer might have been handed a tough hand, but he still has to gird his loins and marshal a plan that would cage the Elephants.
In the press conference ahead of the match, Peseiro said the game would be a hard one for the Super Eagles.
The Super Eagles should expect a tough game
The Super Eagles coach has predicted a tough game against the Elephants of Ivory Coast.
The Nigerian national team must avoid a loss against the hosts to remain in contention for a place in the next round.
The two teams have a rich history together, and it has never been easy for either side when they clash, and Peseiro brought that to bear at the pre-match conference.
However, Peseiro said they have high expectations for the match and aim to win and go top of the group.
“It would be a hard match against a very good team; we expect a full stadium, the expectation is a lot from us. We need to play a very good match to win,” the head coach told reporters.
Pesiro also hinted at making positive changes to the team and expected it was time his team got the rub of the green.
Jose Peseiro the @NGSuperEagles 🇳🇬 full of praise for his Thursday #AFCON2023 opponents Cote d’Ivoire before reminding us that his side is also equally good and ready for the task #AFCONWithClive pic.twitter.com/MTRiMUAQtr
— Omutegeke | 🇺🇬🎙️ (@CliveKyazze) January 17, 2024
A need to improve and divine help
By size alone, the Elephants are no pushovers and even at their peak, the Super Eagles have struggled to beat the Ivorians.
The last time they got a win over Ivory Coast was at the 2013 AFCON, and Nigeria went on to win the tournament.
Peseiro was honest enough to admit that the Super Eagles needed to improve in certain areas of their game.
🚨Jose Peseiro repeats: “Like I said earlier, God gives, God takes. We can only create the chances to score and hope God gives us this match against Cote D’Iviore”
The whole press conference room burst into laughter 😁#AFCON2023
— MikeThePundit (@Mike_ThePundit) January 17, 2024
He said the team played well against Equatorial Guinea but must maintain a positive outlook, maintain the attacking formation and compactness, defend well and take their chances if they are to win.
“I think it is very important to keep our way, our formation, play our way, defend well, maintain the team’s compactness as well as play well. When you play well you create opportunities, we demand commitment. We want to enjoy the game, not concede goals. If we can create chances like that in Guinea, we can expect goals,” the Portuguese said.
Once again, Peseiro harped on the need for divine help as they take on the hosts.
He repeated his statement from his last post-match conference, where he said, God gives and God takes.
“Like I said earlier, God gives, God takes. We can only create the chances to score and hope God gives us this match against Cote D’Iviore.”
The three times Nigeria won the AFCON, they played against Ivory Coast in either the group or knockout stage.
In 1980, they drew 0-0 with Ivory Coast in their second group game. They also drew 2-2 in the 1994 semi-finals and 2-1 in the 2013 quarter-finals.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago