Peseiro was clueless in AFCON 2023 final – Alex Iwobi

Peseiro was clueless in AFCON 2023 final – Alex Iwobi
Photo by Icon Sport

Alex Iwobi has finally spoken about Nigeria’s participation at AFCON 2023, where the Super Eagles lost 2-1 to the hosts Ivory Coast in the final.

Many Nigerians had a negative view of the team following the loss, heaping blame on players like Alex Iwobi and the manager Jose Peseiro without knowing the intricacies of what the team had to go through to reach the final.

It is not like there were no faults with some of the players or the team management, but the Fulham midfielder felt Nigerians could have been more understanding in their criticism.

In a tell-all interview on his podcast Project 17, Alex Iwobi insinuated that Jose Peseiro was at a loss in the final as they sought to win their fourth AFCON title.

Alex Iwobi accuses Peseiro of final loss

Should the NFF Hand Jose Peseiro a New Contract? clueless in final - alex iwobi
Credit: Iconsport

Before the kick-off of AFCON 2023, few people gave the Super Eagles a chance to do well, especially following their performance in the World Cup qualifiers and the friendly loss to Guinea Bissau.

Alex Iwobi, who assisted the second goal in the 2-1 friendly win over Ghana, claimed it was a tough tournament, as the boys had to make several sacrifices. However, the former Arsenal man said Peseiro was out-thought in the final.

He said due to how they played, Ivory Coast had analyzed their games. They had Franck Kessie on him and pinned their creative outlets, making it difficult to create anything.

He said Peseiro was stumped and could not respond to the tactics of the Ivorians.

“Ivory Coast analyzed our games. We didn’t know how to handle what Ivory Coast had to offer. We just did what we did every game, being defensive. It was hard to get to the ball, Iwobi said.”

Peseiro made changes, hoping their characteristics would bail the team out of a tight spot.

Despite not being fazed by the home support, Iwobi claimed that being hosts helped Ivory Coast.

We were unfairly criticized

Alex iwobi - i was played out of position
Photo by Icon Sport

Alex Iwobi was not oblivious to the criticism that came the way of the Super Eagles. According to the Fulham midfielder, he heard it in many questions asked him in interviews.

He claims the criticisms reached a fever pitch because Nigeria lost the final.

“If we had won the final, there wouldn’t have been any complaints, Iwobi said.”

He also highlighted the role he had to play in the team as being different from his traditional positions. Alex Iwobi claims it took away plenty of his creative spark.

“The roles I and Frank (Onyeka) were asked to play was like get the second balls, run, keep the ball, manage the ball, swing it from left to right. We had wing backs that could support, Samuel Chukwueze and Moses Simon that could create, the former Everton midfielder said.”

The Fulham midfielder believed he could have done more, but all he and Frank were asked to do was sit and manage the game.

Alex iwobi said he’s the kind of guy that will listen to his coach and obey instructions.

Alex Iwobi also talked about the weather conditions, describing it as hellish. He said it was not an excuse for their failure, but playing a game in those conditions every four days was stressful.

Cyberbullying did not affect me – Iwobi

Cyberbullying did not affect me - Alex Iwobi
Photo by Icon Sport

There have been questions surrounding the way he quit social media. Many people said the negative criticisms got to him, but the former Arsenal man debunked the rumours.

Iwobi said he didn’t quit social media because of the reports. He claims he just wanted to be off social media for a while.

The loss hurt him so much, and he didn’t want to relieve it. He just wanted to get over it, and social media was all about the loss.

According to him, he returned to social media to prove he was not affected by the comments.

He also commended Victor Osimhen and the minister of sports for their support but did not like how the news went around that he was depressed. The captain of the team, Ahmed Musa also stood up for him amid the bullying.

Iwobi said he had received worse stick in his career and could manage it.

The Super Eagles' toughest AFCON 2023 game

Contrary to widespread opinions, the final against Ivory Coast was not their toughest game.

Iwobi gives that credit to Bafana Bafana. He said the team was distraught when the game went into penalties.

The antecedent of Ronwen Williams caused a scare for the team, but he praised Staley Nwabali, who he described as Superman.

This article was most recently revised and updated 4 weeks ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.