Jose Peseiro’s men retain the desire to go all the way in Cote d’Ivoire despite facing personnel challenges in the days before the tournament proper
Lagos State Governor Jide Sanwo-Olu has urged the Super Eagles to give their best and make the nation proud at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Soccernet.ng reports.
The 34th edition of the continental championship kicks off in Cote d’Ivoire this weekend, with Nigeria playing their first match against Equatorial Guinea on Sunday, January 14.
The Super Eagles were tipped to be among the frontrunners to win the tournament, as the team boasts some of the best attackers on the continent.
But injuries have hit head coach Jose Peseiro’s preparations.
Taiwo Awoniyi missed the tournament due to an injury. Kelechi Iheanacho is in a race against the clock to be available. At the same time, Victor Boniface has been forced to withdraw, leaving the Portuguese tactician with only two fit strikers in Victor Osimhen and Umar Sadiq.
Still, Nigerians are not giving up hopes of winning the AFCON for a fourth time, having claimed the title in 1980, 1994, and 2013.
Charging the players to work together as a team and not rely on individuals, Gov Sanwo-Olu tasked the Super Eagles to aim for glory in Cote d’Ivoire.
The number-one citizen of Lagos State assured the Eagles of his support and that of 200 million Nigerians, who will derive a lot of pride and joy in the team’s success at the AFCON.
Speaking at the dinner he hosted for the Super Eagles after they returned from their training camp in Abu Dhabi, Governor Sanwo-Olu noted:
“You are the country unifier; there is an excitement in the heart of over 200 million Nigerians. Believe in yourself, and don’t give up in Côte d’Ivoire.
“We can’t say we want to do it again by mouth; you must give your best. Work as a team. It is not an individual sport; it is a team sport. Personally, I have committed myself I will be in Abidjan for the games and support the team.
“I want to assure you that our best wish is to do it for our country. Winning the AFCON will be the best palliative.”
The Super Eagles were in the United Arab Emirates for an intensive week-long training under the watchful eyes of coach Peseiro.
The team will depart Nigeria for Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on Wednesday.