- Coach Jose Peseiro has conceded that new African champion, Ivory Coast, were better than his team in the AFCON 2023 final
- Peseiro said despite the disappointment of losing the game, each member of the squad gave their utmost effort
- According to the Portuguese football manager, "sometimes you want to do something but you cannot do it"
Legit.ng journalist Ridwan Adeola Yusuf has over 9 years of experience covering sports and football.
Legit.ng reports that Sébastien Haller scored late to lead the host nation to a remarkable AFCON title with a 2-1 victory over Nigeria in the final on Sunday, February 11.
Haller netted from close range in the 81st minute to complete the turnaround after Franck Kessié drew the Elephants level in the 62nd minute.
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It marked Ivory Coast's third title, with previous victories in 1992 and 2015, both secured through penalty shootouts.
As quoted by Goal, Peseiro admitted in a post-match interview:
“Ivory Coast were better than us today.
“I am sad, my team is sad, but for me, they did the maximum, each one. Sometimes you want to do something but you cannot do it.”
Meanwhile, the Super Eagles are expected to return to Nigeria either today, Monday, February 12, or Tuesday, February 13.
Key football stakeholders would meet the team members during their return.
The country's national football men's team will now turn their attention to the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.
AFCON 2023: Expert critiques Super Eagles
Shina Oludare, a Nigerian sports journalist, congratulated the Super Eagles, but said "the truth be told".
According to Oludare, Peseiro’s wards "overachieved because several Nigerians including myself never expected them to go this far".
He stated that the team could have beaten Cote d’Ivoire still.
The football expert also criticised Coach Peseiro's notable decisions.
Oludare told Legit.ng:
"Take a look at Cote d’Ivoire, almost all their players were tested and it paid off - that iswhat makes a team thick, but our Peseiro only introduced some players for the first time in the final yet expected miracles from them.
"Then, we should stop taking players to tournaments to reward loyalty. Super Eagles is not a political institution. If a player has leadership qualities, take him along as a backroom staff. We dropped good players who could have brought spark to the team because we wanted to ‘respect’ some senior players.
"I may be wrong, but there are surely lessons to pick. Missing AFCON 2023 hurts, but failing to qualify for World Cup 2026 would hurt more."
More to read about AFCON, Super Eagles
- Why Nigeria lost AFCON 2023 final to Ivory Coast, Atiku's aide Daniel Bwala explains
- Kanu, Drogba, 6 other African legends who didn’t win AFCON, full list with details
- Wigwe: "Why Eagles should win AFCON final," Peter Obi explains, cancels Cote d'Ivoire trip
AFCON final: Nwabali speaks after loss
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Nigeria's Super Eagles defeat to the Elephants of Cote d'Ivoire at the 2023 AFCON tournament has continued to trend.
A few hours after the loss, Super Eagles goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali shared his take on the match.
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