Super Eagles’ head coach, Jose Peseiro, exudes utmost confidence in Nigeria’s ability to triumph in the upcoming African Cup of Nations tournament in Cote d’Ivoire next year. In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Peseiro acknowledges the abundance of talented strikers and midfielders at his disposal, while stressing the importance of synchronizing the team’s defense with their formidable attacking prowess to achieve their championship aspirations.
Nigeria has been drawn alongside host country, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea Bissau in the Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for January. Peseiro emphasizes that their primary objective is to secure victory in the AFCON, acknowledging the stiff competition posed by formidable teams like Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire. However, Peseiro firmly believes in their capabilities, stating, “We believe we can do it. I believe. And the players believe.”
Amidst the challenges faced by the team, such as the differences in structure and organization compared to European football, Peseiro reveals that he willingly accepted a reduction in his salary in order to remain with the team for the AFCON tournament. This decision was influenced by the unwavering support and belief shown by the players, who are convinced of their potential to emerge victorious.
One of the notable weapons in Peseiro’s arsenal is Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen, who is currently participating in Nigeria’s friendly matches against Saudi Arabia and Mozambique in Portugal. Osimhen recently found himself at the center of controversy as Napoli released a video on tiktok depicting him missing a penalty kick during a Serie A game. This video, originating from the very club Osimhen helped secure their first Scudetto in over three decades, has generated significant outrage, to the extent that Osimhen’s agents are contemplating legal action against Napoli.
Peseiro is understandably critical of Napoli’s actions, particularly due to its origin from within the club. He expresses his disapproval, stating, “That video? From the club? From the outside, it is one thing, but a video from the club, that is the worst. That cannot happen.” Peseiro emphasizes Osimhen’s perplexity and sadness, as he fails to comprehend the reason for such treatment. Osimhen’s contributions were pivotal in Napoli’s Serie A title triumph, making the mockery he now faces all the more disheartening.
However, Peseiro has personally offered Osimhen support and advises him to remain focused, ensuring that this mistreatment does not deter him from his ambitions in the game. Peseiro reminds Osimhen of his stellar rise to stardom, highlighting the heightened expectations that come with being a renowned player. Despite Napoli’s actions being deemed inconsiderate, Peseiro encourages Osimhen to maintain composure, resist engaging with the fans, and stay true to his mentality and personality. Such resilience is what sets the very best players apart and ensures their success, and Peseiro firmly believes Osimhen can reach the pinnacle of his career.