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Eagles will fight to win AFCON –Peseiro

Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro, has stated that his team will fight to win the 2023 African Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

Peseiro, who announced his 25-man squad for the forthcoming AFCON tournament scheduled to hold from January 13 to February 11 last Friday, admitted that the Eagles are in a tough group as they are drawn against Ivory Coast.

“The Eagles’ group is not easy because hosts Ivory Coast is one of the favourites for the tournament due to their good squad and that they are playing at home,” the Portuguese coach told Nigeria Football Federation TV.

“Equatorial Guinea did better than Nigeria at the last AFCON, they got to the quarter-finals and Guinea-Bissau beat us at home in the qualifiers so it’s going to be a tough tournament, a tough job for us because we need to put in focus every time, every minute and every seconds in the match.”

Peseiro, also revealed that it was the decision of the Nigerian Football Federation to take a 25-man squad to the tournament as against the initially reported 27 players.

His list comprises three goalkeepers, nine defenders, five midfielders and eight forwards also had eight debutants.

“The NFF decided that we announce a squad of 25 for the tournament and I agreed because we have to manage the squad training,” Peseiro continued.

“We first came up with the 41 players then the players who made the final list have been with us and they have shown good performance.

“There are players who showed good performance in their clubs but didn’t do well in the national team. Also, there are players who do well for the national team and didn’t do well in their clubs.

“We looked at current form, if they are playing well and showed good condition.

He also explained why Chippa United goalkeeper Stanley Nwabili was named in the squad despite not been with the team since he took charge.

Nwabili was preferred to Israel-based Adebayo Adeleye who had been in Eagles squad.

“I received information about him and I tried to observe him in the video but I then requested that I go to South Africa to speak with him, his coach (at Chippa United), spoke with other people,” he said.

“I watched his training and I watched their match and after evaluating him for the four or five days we were there we decided to put him in the list because we believe in him.

“He showed good qualities, good performance and now I have to wait and hope he shows the same capacity and qualities in the Super Eagles because it is different when you play in the national team and club.“

The former Real Madrid assistant coach spoke about the Eagles training camp in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates where they are expected to play Burkina Faso and Cape Verde in pre-tournament friendlies.

“We will be in Abu Dhabi for six days for where we will be involved in our preparation, organisation, ideas. At the same time we want to improve our speed, introduce different dynamics because this is a specific tournament which needs maximum focus.”

The Eagles who last won the AFCON title – their third, 11 years ago in South Africa defeating Burkina Faso by a lone goal in the final will begin a one-week training camp on Tuesday (today) that will last until January 9.

The team will fly back to Lagos on Tuesday 9th January, and then fly into the Ivorian capital, Abidjan on January 10.

The Eagles, in their quest for a fourth continental title, will take on Equatorial Guinea on January 14 in their first match of Group A, before further clashes with host nation Ivory Coast four days later. Their final group A game is against Guinea Bissau January 22.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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