Selected 25-man Super Eagles squad are slated to face Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau for their AFCON 2023 group stage matches
Former Super Eagles midfielder Sylvanus Okpala defends Jose Peseiro’s choices, emphasizing the importance of strategic considerations in player selection,Soccernet.ng reports.
The Portuguese tactician named a 25-man squad list out of his 40-man provisional list to tackle at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations tournament but has raised concerns in the Nigerian football community for their capability to scoop their fourth AFCON trophy.
Speaking on Brila Fm, Okpala expressed his belief that critiquing a coach’s player selection prematurely might not fully consider the underlying strategic decisions behind those choices.
“I don’t like to question a coach’s selection of players, It’s his discretion to pick whoever he wants to pick and leave out whoever he wants to.” Okpala asserted
He elaborated on the intricate process of squad selection, as he touched on the crucial role of the coach’s tactical plan and preferred formations, which dictate the kind of players suited for the team.
“Every player has different characteristics, so he has to pick based on his strategy, the formation he wants to play,
“And you know, that’s how he has to pick the player. And that is why I don’t like to question the selection of coaches, who they have selected or who they have not selected. So I just leave it to the coach,” he explained.
He emphasized his stance on waiting to assess the team’s performance during matches to gauge the effectiveness of Peseiro’s chosen tactics and formations.
He added: “I only wait for the day of the match to analyze what he is playing, whether it is going well or not. Based on strategy and the formation.”
Nigeria’s journey in the tournament begins on January 14 against Equatorial Guinea, followed by a match against Ivory Coast four days later. The group stage culminates on January 22 with a clash against Guinea Bissau.