Despite not competing in the 2022 World Cup, Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro thinks the Super Eagles are favorites to win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Nigeria was one of the premier African football nations that was left out of the recently concluded international competition in Qatar, where Morocco made history by becoming the first team from the region to reach the final four.
The next AFCON, which was postponed to 2024, has the Atlas Lions as heavy favorites to win. However, Peseiro, who was in Qatar to watch most of the matches, believes the Super Eagles will be the team to beat in the Ivory Coast.
Jose Peseiro’s statement
“Morocco’s performance at the World Cup shows African football has come of age and many teams especially from the rest of the world will now show more respect to teams from the continent,” Peseiro said.
“On our part, the aim still remains to win the next Africa Cup of Nations and we are ready to beat any team that comes our way. That’s the target and it remains the same.
“We have very good games in the qualifiers. We want to finish well and it starts with transmitting my ideas and tactics to the players. They will get it before the Afcon and we will be unstoppable.”
Nigeria last won the AFCON in 2013, and since then, they have had a disappointing history, missing out on the 2015 and 2017 tournaments, placing third in 2019, and suffering a heartbreaking Round of 16 exit at the 2021 competition.
Since taking over as Super Eagles coach in May, just two months after Ghana eliminated Nigeria from the World Cup playoffs, Peseiro has also failed to persuade a portion of Super Eagles supporters.
After helping his team defeat Sierra Leone and Sao Tome and Principe in the 2023 Afcon qualifying matches, the Portuguese coach has only won two of his seven games. However, losses to Algeria, Mexico, Ecuador, and Cost Rica have caused some to question whether he is the right coach to lead his team to the “Promised Land.”
Nigeria’s next game, a 2023 Afcon qualifier against Guinea-Bissau, is scheduled for March next year.