Nigeria advanced to the semifinal of the continental championship following a hard-fought victory over the Sable Antelopes
Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro has revealed he is pleased with Zaidu Sanusi’s performance in Nigeria’s narrow 1-0 win over Angola on Friday, Soccernet.ng reports.
Ademola Lookman fired the only goal of the game in the first half as Nigeria advanced to the semifinals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations at the expense of the Palancas Negras.
Sanusi, as in all of Nigeria’s last four games, was deployed as the left wingback in Peseiro’s preferred 3-4-3 formation, but he failed to impress.
The Porto fullback found himself severally in good attacking positions to create chances for the strikers or score himself, but his final delivery left much to be desired.
Still, Peseiro has expressed his satisfaction with Sanusi’s display.
The Portuguese tacticians admitted that Sanusi, like every other player, made mistakes, but he maintained that such was expected of the fullback in the Super Eagles’ system.
Peseiro applauded Sanusi for playing better against Angola than he did against Cameroon in the quarterfinals, a game Nigeria won 2-0.
The former Sporting CP boss also used the opportunity to sing the praises of the Super Eagles players, highlighting their desire, passion, and hunger to succeed at the AFCON.
“I think Zaidu Sanusi played well, but it is not easy playing fullback in this system because they must go in the other line [attack] and come in this line [defence],” Peseiro said at his post-match press conference, witnessed by Soccernet.ng.
“It’s different for someone playing in the middle running 5m, 10m with the same speed. But for fullbacks, they must go with speed and come back with speed, and sometimes the fullback feels, in some moments, not fresh. And when not fresh, they don’t decide well.
“Normal when playing with 3-4-3 like we played our wingers play inside, it is normal to change the two fullbacks to stay more fresh.
“Zaidu, I think, played better in this match than in the last match [Cameroon]. All the players in some moments, can make mistakes. I don’t like mistakes, but they can do mistakes.
“All my players played well and I’m very happy with them. They deserve this. I want to do all for them because they do all for me, for the Super Eagles, and for the 200 million Nigerian people.
“These players fight and fight and fight because this tournament is not easy.”
For the semifinal, Nigeria will face the winner of the quarterfinal clash between Cape Verde and South Africa.