By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde
As Nigeria prepares to face hosts, Cote D’Ivoire in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), the head coach of the three-time African champions is focusing on winning the ultimate prize in Abidjan on Sunday.
The battle title against the host at the Stade Olympique Alassane Ouattara, Ebimpe, Abidjan.
This will be Peseiro’s first major tournament with the Super Eagles as his first AFCON appearance and making it to the final comes with a lot of emotions.
“Playing a final is very important. This is my first AFCON. The contest, pressure, and emotions in Africa are very special,” Peseiro told journalists during the pre-match press conference.
“All of this in my opinion is a great way to learn. I learned tremendously well as a coach of Nigeria. It’s good to win but when you lose, it’s emotional. The players understand this particular contest more than others. They have played in other competitions.
“Football brings in emotions in Africa than elsewhere.
I have worked in three continents.
Asia, Africa, and America. I think it is easier with my background which allows me to manage negative things. We are thinking about the final, especially the positive things.” He stated.
Elated to be playing his first AFCON final during his first appearance as a coach, Peseiro reiterated his goal for the final while giving updates on players’ fitness.
“I am happy the team is happy also to reach the final. They have done a fantastic and amazing job but we want to win this AFCON.” He continued.
“He (Zaidu Sanusi )trained yesterday and today we will have the last practice. We will check if he can play.
“We are happy to play this final. Our opponents’ coach, Emerse Fae is also doing well. Congratulations to them for reaching the final. We are both favourites with 50% chances for each team but we want to win the AFCON.
“We have played 14 matches and lost one. With this form, we want to win the AFCON. If games go well, fans are happy but when it doesn’t go well, they attack us. It’s life. I am prepared for everything.
“The situation doesn’t fill my mind. My mind is only focused on tomorrow’s match against Cote d’Ivoire. A tough match with a good team since the first game of the competition. Only one thing is important for us, I want to win and we want to win the match. I will do my best with the team and players as they will be on the field.
“We will try to play within the atmosphere. Though they will try to shout at us but it is a good atmosphere for the final. We will concentrate on our job on the field with our sacrifice and spirit.”
A win for Nigeria will increase their AFCON title to four equaling Ghana’s title feat.