The two teams enter this match unbeaten in the tournament, with Nigeria boasting three wins and a draw so far, the same as Angola
Angola’s head coach, Pedro Gonçalves, has disclosed a longstanding friendship with Nigeria’s coach, Jose Peseiro, ahead of the clash between the two nations in the quarterfinals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Soccernet.ng reports.
As both nations gear up for their historic first meeting in AFCON history this Friday, fans from Angola and Nigeria are fervently engaging in social media banter, passionately debating which team holds the upper hand in what promises to be a high-stakes encounter.
What makes this encounter particularly intriguing is the off-field camaraderie between the managers of the two teams.
Gonçalves, aged 47, and Peseiro, aged 63, share a Portuguese heritage and have been friends since the early 2000s.
The two collaborated at Sporting CP, where the younger man was the academy coach while Peseiro was the first team boss between 2004 and 2005.
Gonçalves, whose coaching journey led him from Sporting CP to Angola’s youth teams, assumed the reins of the senior national team in 2019.
Under his guidance, Angola achieved a historic group stage performance in AFCON, securing 7 points with two wins – a feat unprecedented for the Palancas Negras.
In Group D, pitted against Algeria, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania, the Angolans finished atop, earning them a ticket to the knockout stages.
They sealed their quarterfinal spot by convincingly defeating Namibia 3-0, marking only the third time in history that Angola has reached this stage.
A win in the upcoming match would see them advance to the semifinals for the first time in AFCON history.
Interestingly, fate has thrown Gonçalves against his close friend Peseiro, who leads a Nigerian side hungry for a fourth continental triumph.
Instead of engaging in the typical pre-match hostilities, Gonçalves revealed to Portugal’s publication, Record, that the two coaches have been exchanging messages of mutual encouragement throughout the competition.
“We have been exchanging messages of mutual encouragement,” Gonçalves shared, highlighting the sportsmanship and camaraderie prevailing despite the impending clash.
While this marks Nigeria’s first encounter with Angola at AFCON, the two teams have a history, having met nine times in other competitions.
The past encounters saw both teams claim two wins each, with the remaining five matches ending in draws, setting the stage for a highly unpredictable showdown.