AFCON 2023: Beating Sierra Leone non-negotiable, says Super Eagles’ Coach, Peseiro



By Victor Okoye

The Head Coach of Super Eagles, José Peseiro, has said that beating the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier is non-negotiable.

Peseiro stated this during a pre-match conference on Wednesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Eagles will confront their familiar foes, Sierra Leone, at the Moshood Abiola Abiola National Stadium on Thursday.

The game, which is expected to be played behind closed doors, is one of the day one matches of Group A of the qualification series.

The Super Eagles boss, while fielding questions from newsmen, dismissed as false, rumours making the rounds that he had complained about the playing surface of the stadium.

He stressed that he was more concerned and focused on the game against the Leone Stars, adding that winning the game was his top priority.

“I didn’t speak or complain to anyone about the pitch and I really don’t know where the false story was coming from.

“I never spoke to any journalist on this issue.

“In fact, the only time I spoke with the press prior to my taking charge of the team was during a post-match conference in U.S.

“To us, the most important thing is playing well tomorrow (Thursday) and beating Sierra Leone. Every other thing is secondary. So, winning tomorrow is non-negotiable,” he said.

Peseiro said that his tactics was to attack the oponents right from the beginning of the match, adding that the Super Eagles must dominate and dictate the pace of the game.

He also stated that his major goal was to win the AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire next year, adding, however, that he cannot achieve it without the collective support of all the stakeholders.

“It is a pleasure to coach the Super Eagles. This is a team with lots of history and indeed, the pride of Africa.

“I’m happy and I have come here to do my best and the big goal for me is to win the next AFCON.

“We must do it together; my staffers, the players, NFF and of course, the media, and the work begins today,” he said.

On his pedigree as a coach before accepting the Super Eagles’ job, the Portuguese said that he would like to be judged and evaluated based on his performance with the club.

The Super Eagles’ boss stressed that he was fully committed to the objective of restoring the pride and glory of the national team, adding that Nigeria had both the quality and quantity to achieve success.

“I have come here for one goal: to achieve success with the fantastic players and for Nigerians.

“I am confident because I believe in the team, the quality and the number of good players.

“I have followed Nigeria’s history in football from 1994 and other successful teams, and I want to bring back that joy.

“I have always loved the Nigeria team, particularly since I watched them play at the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the U.S.

“It is a team with solid pedigree. Presently, we have both the quality and quantity of players and it is always a good situation for any team,” he said.

NAN reports that Peseiro had previously worked with some top clubs, such as Real Madrid, FC Porto and Braga, among others.

With the Super Eagles done with the tour of U.S. for preparatory games, the team will now switch attention to the AFCON 2023 qualifiers.

Nigeria will take on the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone at Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja on Thursday, before travelling to Marrakech to face Sao Tome and Principe on Tuesday. (NAN)