The Super Eagles of Nigeria, ahead of their CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifying double-header against Guinea-Bissau, held the team press conference before the game.
Both Coach Jose Peseiro and captain Ahmed Musa, fielded questions from the media about the game ahead amongst other issues concerning the Super Eagles.
Ahmed Musa answered the press on the issue of potential complacency within the team ahead of the match, but he highlighted the importance of the match and promised that the team would do its best to win the game.
“We all know the importance of the game, so, we are not taking it that easy because we know the opponent, we played them at the AFCON; they are a very difficult team and we are not going to take it easy against them.
“We are playing at home, we don’t have to lose that game, so In sha Allah we are going all out tomorrow to win the game so that we can have one more step forward to the AFCON.”
Musa also assured that the team had put the horror of missing out on the world cup at the same venue at about the same time a year ago.
“I think nobody can ever forget that game because we the players, it’s not that easy for us, and we know what Nigerians always want and that is the world cup we did not qualify, and there is nothing we can do. But this is AFCON, so in Africa, this AFCON is very important to qualify and we all know the importance of the game not to lose,” Musa mentioned.
“We know that the team is going to be very difficult tomorrow, but we are at home, so we have to give all our best to make Nigerians happy.
“As you can see, in the country, everything is happening and only football makes us happy nowadays so we have to do our best to make them happy.”
Jose Peseiro, the national team gaffer addressed the issue of the sack of his Nigerian assistant, Finidi George and goalkeeper coach, Ike Shorunmu.
“It is not the first time, because in Portugal there was only one assistant coach, the NFF president informed me that I needed to reduce because we can only have one assistant coach and they will be rotated, it used to be Finidi, now it is Abdallah, in the future, it could be Yusuf or maybe Finidi one more time.
“About the goalkeeper coach, you know, I think everyone was informed in the press release, what I can say is that you need to understand how difficult our situation is, I can only call up twenty players from outside to reduce the space, that is what the president explained to me as the situation.
“I understand and you have to understand as well that for a reduced space, we need fewer coaches and fewer players from outside.”
The Super Eagles coach was asked about his unpaid salaries by the NFF, a sequel to reports that he was being owed wages by the NFF.
“About my bonuses and salaries, it is only between me and the NFF, I don’t share such information, I can only share it with my wife. It is not a problem, the focus is not on the money, all focus is on the situation.
“We must forget that all bad things could happen, all we need to focus on is our team and our players as we focus on our goals which is taking a step further in the qualifiers.”
He went on to defend the players he called up for the Cup of Nations qualifiers. The gaffer had come under public scrutiny on the list, but, he stood his grounds and explained.
“I like all my players, I understand everybody, because surely If I ask everybody to choose 20 players, they will choose who they like, but I understand, it is normal. The difference is I am the coach, I choose, in my mind, the best players for our team, but if I ask 200 million Nigerians, they can choose for themselves, but it is my job.
“Of course, I know this players, and we appreciate these players, we check this players, and you know I visit many players until now. If I choose these players now, it is because I believe in them more than many others, only them.
“But I am the coach, it is my responsibility, If I lose, it will be on my neck, not yours. I appreciate and know these players and my staff as well, they see each weekend, at least 48 matches, each week to check all the players.”
The gaffer was specifically asked about the inclusion of the captain of the Flying Eagles, Daniel Bameyi, which had caused many fans to question his selection.
“There are many players, it is not easy to choose, of course. If I choose twenty players from outside, I must choose local players, until now you know, I visit some clubs, I watch some matches in the league, not enough matches to make better conclusions about my choices.
“I had more time with the U20s, I watched the training, I watched a friendly match, I watched three matches and he was different. I concluded with an observation evaluation.
I chose Bameyi because he is a defender, he can play right centre back and right back, I can tell you, there are other players of course on the same level, but I need to choose the players whose quality I believe in.
If you see, I chose two right backs, two left back, and two centre backs; and Bameyi can play both centre-back and left back. Four central midfielders, four wingers and four strikers.
“The team needs balance. As for the goalkeeper also, I watched him. I watched Victor (Sochima), and I watched Kingsley (Aniagboso) because I cannot choose players just for the sake of it and in my mind, I believe in what I see, of course, yesterday, I saw the U23 for the first time. I saw one or two players, but, in my eyes I could see more times.
Finally, in the press conference, the gaffer highlighted the importance of maintaining a consistent team.
“It is not easy to build a team or a national team if you change the team every time, because, first of all, we need to have enough practice in the camp about our ideas, our organization, defensive organization and our spirit also.
“There are many players with quality, if I choose anybody, it is because I believe they can do better than the others. You need to create a spirit within the team.”
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