AFCON 2023: Ex Juventus Star Pinpoints Reason for Nigeria’s Positive Performance in Ivory Coast

AFCON 2023: Ex Juventus Star Pinpoints Reason for Nigeria’s Positive Performance in Ivory Coast

Ero Samson
updated at February 13, 2024 at 11:54 AM
In this article:
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S. Oliseh
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  • The commencement of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final stage is upon us
  • Nigeria’s Super Eagles are poised to face off against South Africa’s Bafana Bafana
  • An ex-Juventus star has identified the reason for Nigeria's positive showing at the AFCON

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) continues to defy expectations, deviating from the widely predicted narrative.

This showpiece of footballing brilliance has been nothing short of electrifying and has featured a flurry of upsets and a host of surprise nations making it into the knockouts.

Among these unexpected success stories are the three-time Cup of Nations winners, the Super Eagles of Nigeria.

AFCON, Nigeria, Oliseh, Super Eagles, South Africa
Nigeria's players pose ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final football match against Angola. Image: Issouf Sanogo.
Source: Getty Images

Initially greeted with scepticism as they entered the tournament in Ivory Coast, the team failed to shine in their opening fixture against the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea.

However, the Super Eagles' fortunes have taken a turn for the better, securing a series of impressive victories without conceding a goal. This remarkable performance has earned them a well-deserved spot in the final four of the competition.

Nevertheless, as they prepare for a crucial semi-final clash against South Africa, a former Juventus midfielder has pinpointed the factors contributing to the Nigerian national team's success at the AFCON.

Former Juventus star on Nigeria’s AFCON success

In a chat with media outlet Channels Television, former Juventus midfielder, Sunday Oliseh, touched on what coach Peseiro and his team have corrected since the draw against the Equatoguineans.

“What we are doing so well is the compactness, the 49-year-old stated.”
“The players in the midfield, the central defensive midfielders that are winning the ball, are making it impossible for the opponents to attack our central defence.”
“These are players that are really helping Nigerians to excel.”

The insights from the 1994 AFCON winner align with the observations of many tacticians analysing the Super Eagles' playing style.

Since the opening fixture draw, the Super Eagles have demonstrated resilience in defence, preventing their subsequent opponents from creating scoring opportunities in all their games.

As Nigeria anticipates their upcoming match against South Africa's Bafana Bafana, fans hope that this defensive prowess will persist and contribute to the team's continued success.

Hugo Broos hails Lookman

Sports Brief in another report stated that the coach of South Africa’s Bafana Bafana, Hugo Broos, has hailed Ademola Lookman ahead of the clash against the Super Eagles.

The 71-year-old, who expressed optimism about his side’s chances of winning, took time to laud the Nigerian star during his post-match press conference against Cape Verde.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).