Nigeria national football team manager José Peseiro has stood his ground on the exclusion of OGC Nice striker Terem Moffi from the Super Eagles squad that will take on Sierra Leone in their upcoming AFCON 2023 qualifiers fixtures tie.
Moffi, who was in the last squad that won and lost to Guinea-Bissau, was excluded for this tie. The competition for the winger, striker and centre-forward role in Nigeria is fierce but Moffi's performances in the 2022/23 European season made him a strong contender for the squad. Peseiro has come out to express full confidence in the team he picked.
Some Super Eagles players overlooked by Jose Peseiro played against @Box2boxfc1 in Lagos on Tuesday.
— Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) June 14, 2023
“I chose the best team for Sierra Leone,” Peseiro says of Moffi's exclusion
José Peseiro has selected Terem Moffi twice since taking over from Augustine Eguavoen as the manager of the three-time AFCON champions.
The former Lorient striker is one of 45 players on his provisional list, as revealed to the Nigeria football news media. Peseiro stated that Moffi's exclusion, this time, is down to the Super Eagles' management team's choices of who the best team for the Sierra Leone game is.
“I can’t justify why I didn’t choose any player,” Peseiro said. “Moffi belongs to our list. We have a list that consists of 45 players. These players, I believe in them, and I have confidence in them. But for each camp and match, I choose the best 19, the best 21, or 23.”
Massive Attacking options available to Jose Peseiro. pic.twitter.com/MFewiJdeOm
— Sports Radio Brila FM (@Brilafm889) June 15, 2023
Nottingham Forest striker Taiwo Awoniyi is the man who replaced Moffi in the June squad for the Sierra Leone tie. Awoniyi has been solid for the Tricky Trees and his performances lifted them from the quagmire of relegation to safety with three Premier League games to spare.
His inclusion in the AFCON qualifiers 2023 squad is in recognition of that feat, even though it looks like it diminishes Moffi's achievement of 18 goals in the French Ligue 1. Moffi also lost out on the fan award for the UEFA European Conference League goal of the season although his goal was selected by the UEFA technical observers committee as the top goal of the 2022/23 Conference League.
“I cannot call 10 strikers,” Peseiro argues
Peseiro's full list has been scrutinised and is still being criticised by fans for some inclusions and exclusions. Captain Ahmed Musa's inclusion continues to draw the ire of Nigerians and the exclusion of KAA Gent forward Gift Orban has thrown fans on social media into a frenzy. The midfield also sees a number of players like Chuba Akpom and Raphael Onyedika miss out.
However, the former Venezuela national team manager has come out to point out that the talent pool in Moffi's position is saturated and that the other areas of the team cannot be ignored.
The hard work doesn't stop 👊🏽 pic.twitter.com/5cl14Eb09U
— Soar Super Eagles (@SSE_NGA) June 15, 2023
“Now I decided to bring Taiwo [Awoniyi], Kelechi [Iheanacho], and Victor [Osimhen]. But Moffi, Paul [Onuachu], and Cyriel [Dessers] could not come with us. I picked some strikers. But, I didn’t call Gift [Orban], I didn’t call [Victor] Boniface. We have many players, but I cannot call 10 strikers. No team can play with 10 strikers,” Peseiro said.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago