Jose Mourinho has already taken sides as the Super Eagles take on Ivory Coast in the final of AFCON 2023.
In the high-stakes match, which sees the Super Eagles seeking their fourth title and Ivory Coast their third, millions of fans across the globe have thrown their support behind the Nigerian side.
The match is the first time both sides are clashing in the final of AFCON after seven meetings in the tournament.
The hosts started the tournament poorly, and after sacking their coach, they surprised everybody by reaching the final, but who is Jose Mourinho rooting for to win the AFCON 2023 final?
Jose Mourinho throws weight behind Super Eagles and Jose Peseiro
In a social media post, Jose Mourinho, who recently left his role at AS Roma, has thrown his weight behind his Portuguese friend Jose Peseiro.
The former Chelsea manager said that Peseiro is his best friend, and they spent five years together.
The statement alluded to reports that he recommended Peseiro to Pinnick, who signed him as the Super Eagles coach.
“He grew up with me, we studied together and we left University the same day. We spent five years together everyday and we left at the same time,” Jose Mourinho said.
According to the former Real Madrid manager and two-time Champions League winner, Peseiro is probably his biggest friend in football.
— Soar Super Eagles (@SSE_NGA) February 11, 2024
He threw his weight behind him and drummed up support for Peseiro.
Mourinho said it was a massive opportunity for Peseiro, as no Portuguese manager has ever won the AFCON.
After heavy criticism leading to AFCON 2023, Peseiro has led the Super Eagles to the final and could write his name in Nigerian football history with a win over Ivory Coast.
Jose Mourinho has a love for Africa
Jose Mourinho has, throughout his career, shown a love for African players and made efforts to sign the top of the pack whenever he has the chance.
It is not surprising that he has shown keen interest in AFCON 2023 and supports Peseiro, who led Nigeria to victory in the knockout rounds over Cameroon, Angola and South Africa.
Some of the players he has signed in the past include Mikel Obi (Nigeria), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Samuel Eto (Cameroon) and Michael Essien (Ghana).
Jose Mourinho has also praised the level of officiating at AFCON 2023, especially how they used VAR. He called on European referees to come and learn from African referees.
🗣 Jose Mourinho ON THE USAGE OF VAR AT THE AFCON:
"I have watched AFCON more than European football. They are simply teaching us to be honest. In AFCON VAR is used exactly the way it should be used. They do not use it to help the money magnet teams or famous teams. This is why… pic.twitter.com/YJYR9jRWEJ
— Williams ©️ (@CFCNewsReport) February 11, 2024
He said the level of officiating has brought out the best in teams, leading to upsets rather than favouring the big teams.
It will be a keen contest between Nigeria and Ivory Coast and a befitting final to a tournament that has supplied the fans with plenty of thrills and excitement.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 week ago