Nigeria set for 'better chapter' under Jose Peseiro despite defeats in the United States

3 weeks ago 358
Moises Caicedo of Ecuador and Joe Aribo of Nigeria battle for the ballNigeria missed out on a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar against fierce rivals Ghana in a play-off

Nigeria can look forward to a "better chapter" under new coach Jose Peseiro despite defeats in his first two matches in charge of the West Africans.

The Super Eagles suffered back-to-back losses against World Cup-bound Mexico and Ecuador in friendlies in the United States.

Mexico won 2-1 when the sides met in Dallas last Saturday, and Pervis Estupinan's early strike for Ecuador settled a fine contest in New Jersey on Thursday.

Peseiro took charge last month after Nigeria suffered a last-16 exit from the Nations Cup in Cameroon earlier this year and then missed out on a spot at the 2022 World Cup in Africa's play-offs in March.

"We've had two games under the new manager and this will help us in our upcoming qualifiers," captain William Troost-Ekong told BBC Sport Africa.

"When you face South American teams the styles are obviously different and the team is mentally and physically tested in a very hard way.

"We can all come together for a better chapter for the country."

Nigeria arranged the two friendly matches ahead of the start of their Africa Cup of Nations 2023 qualifying campaign, which begins on Thursday.

The Super Eagles host Sierra Leone behind closed doors in Abuja in their Group A opener, and will then face Sao Tome e Principe in Moroccan city Marrakesh four days later.

Peseiro 'proud' of showing in USA

Jose PeseiroJose Peseiro has managed Porto and Sporting Lisbon in his homeland

Peseiro was without some key players in North America but believes his depleted side showed great character and improvement during less than a week together.

"I am very proud of the players because they gave me a good reason to be happy with their reaction to defeat," said Peseiro.

"Against Mexico we didn't play well in the first half. But [against Ecuador] the last 30 minutes was great. We only failed to turn up in the first 15 minutes and that was when we conceded. The second half was a lot better."

Former Venezuela coach Peseiro said he felt "hard done by" after referee Ricardo Araya's decision not to award a penalty against Ecuador following challenges on Terem Moffi and Troost-Ekong.

"At least we deserved a penalty from this game against Ecuador," the Portuguese added.

"If we had equalised it could've changed the game. We played better than the game against Mexico and I hope we can take the positives to the game against Sierra Leone.

"We created more pressure and chances. We only trained twice [before playing] against Mexico but now we are better than the first game."

In the absence of Peter Etebo and the injured Wilfred Ndidi the team lacked experience in midfield, but at the back goalkeeper Francis Uzoho shone brilliantly while centre-back Calvin Bassey was exceptional for the three-time African champions.

The likes of Victor Osimhen, Kelechi Iheanacho, Leon Balogun, Samuel Chukwueze, Ademola Lookman, Odion Ighalo and Ahmed Musa are expected to return when Nigeria face Sierra Leone.

Source Article