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High hopes for Nigeria's 'Super Eagles' in AFCON 2023

Posted : 25 January 2024

Nigeria arrived in Ivory Coast amidst a wave of criticism, but their fortunes quickly changed after a successful group stage in the 34th Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament. Under the guidance of coach Jose Peseiro, the team not only secured a place in the last 16 but is now being viewed as a serious contender for the title.

Coach Peseiro couldn't hide his satisfaction during a post-match press conference at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan after Nigeria defeated Guinea-Bissau 1-0 in their final group stage game. Despite a draw against Equatorial Guinea (1-1) and victories against Ivory Coast (1-0) and Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria missed the opportunity to top the group due to Equatorial Guinea's 4-0 win over Ivory Coast.

Peseiro expressed his ambition, stating, "We wanted to go through on the first position of the table," and emphasized the importance of controlling the game. He believes that if the team continues to deliver performances like the one against Guinea-Bissau, they can make a deep run in the tournament.

The mood surrounding the Nigeria national team has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent days. Peseiro's team managed to restore the faith of millions of Nigerian fans, who had been skeptical and critical in the lead-up to the tournament.

Guinea-Bissau's coach, Baciro Cande, was impressed by Nigeria's strength, describing them as "one of the favorites for the title." This positive assessment is a stark contrast to the situation just a few weeks ago when doubts loomed over Peseiro's coaching capabilities.

Despite facing financial constraints and prior criticism, the team's recent performances, especially the solid defense against Ivory Coast, have ignited a renewed sense of optimism among fans and officials alike. Former NFF Vice President Seyi Akinwunmi, attending matches as a neutral spectator, voiced confidence in Nigeria's ability to go all the way in the tournament.

The Super Eagles, with a squad featuring internationally recognized stars, are defying expectations and emerging as strong contenders for the AFCON 2023 title. The team's turnaround and newfound confidence have shifted the narrative, and fans now eagerly anticipate a successful campaign in the quest for championship glory.



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