Ahead of the Super Eagles Round of 16 tie against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on Saturday, Jose Peseiro has voiced his concerns about the match but exuded confidence in his wards.
Going into AFCON 2023, Jose Peseiro has been under pressure to deliver and despite qualification for the knockout stage, many still struggle to repose confidence in him.
The Portuguese manager, who has a contract that expires at the end of the tournament, wants to bow out on a high, as he claims not to have agreed to a new deal.
Speaking ahead of the game against Cameroon on Saturday, Peseiro gave an idea of what to expect from his side when the two sides clash in their knockout tie.
Super Eagles will rely on Cameroon’s weak points
Peseiro reiterated the importance of the game against Cameroon during the press conference. The Portuguese does not want the tournament to end for him at this stage as it did for Augustine Eguavoen in 2021.
He spoke of the rivalry between the two sides, knowing the fans would be irked more by a loss to Cameroon despite their qualification.
“We know that if we don’t win we return home tomorrow. I want to score just one more goal than Cameroon tomorrow.”
Peseiro continued how they intended to stop the Indomitable Lions. According to Peseiro, the Cameroonian side had weaknesses, and they must exploit them.
“We studied the opponent, as they studied us I’m sure, now we must rely on the weak points that we saw,” the coach said.
“I want to score one goal tomorrow and not concede. You do that and you win the game”
— MikeThePundit (@Mike_ThePundit) January 26, 2024
Peseiro was also worried about the recent AFCON 2023 statistic suggesting the Super Eagles created the most opportunities and missed the most big chances at the tournament.
However, he said, it showed the team did not need to change tactics but work on converting their chances.
“I don't think we need to change tactics, we just have to score.”
The Super Eagles have scored an average of one goal per game at AFCON 2023.
Kelechi Iheanacho might start for Super Eagles against Cameroon
One of the issues fans have had with the Super Eagles at AFCON 2023 is their inability to score goals.
Three goals from a squad that boasts firepower, including African Footballer of the Year, Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Terem Moffi and Paul Onuachu, are bad returns.
These players have shown their abilities with their clubs, scoring plenty of goals.
Perhaps what irks these fans the most is the profligacy in front of goal by Osimhen, who was the Serie A top scorer last term.
Jose Peseiro on Kelechi Iheanacho;
“You know Kelechi just recovered from injury, there is a reason why he is not playing. I am the coach and you can’t understand. I believe in Iheanacho and he will play in the tournament.” #AFCONwithOgaNlaMedia pic.twitter.com/O41VwWlrKR
— Adepoju Tobi Samuel 🇳🇬 (@OgaNlaMedia) January 26, 2024
There have been calls for Iheanacho, who just returned from injury, to get a look in when the Super Eagles take on Cameroon, and Peseiro seems to be persuaded by their arguments.
In the press conference ahead of the encounter on Saturday, Peseiro was asked about the Leicester City forward, and he stated his belief in him.
“If I had a problem with Kelechi [Iheanacho], I wouldn't have taken him, he would be at home,” the Portuguese coach said.
He acknowledged that he was bombarded with calls for Iheanacho but remained coy on whether he would start against Cameroon.
Peseiro said, “Kelechi, do you want to see him? When you see him, he will play and he will score!”
This article was most recently revised and updated 4 weeks ago