Doubts over title chances as Eagles land in Abidjan

the arrival of the Super Eagles in Abidan, Ivory Coast for the 2023 AFCON, football followers in Nigeria say they have lowered their expectations from the Jose Peseiro-led team ahead of the tournament, reports.

The 34th AFCON will be played from January 13 to February 11.

Dressed in white kaftan with white shoes and green/white striped caps, Nigerian players and officials touched down at the Félix Houphouet-Boigny International Airport, Abidjan, Wednesday to the waiting hands of few members of their supporter club.

They were hosted by Lagos State Governor to a dinner on Tuesday night before departing Nigeria Wednesday morning.

The contingent had 23 players except Kelechi Iheanacho, who is said to be in Ivory Coast before the team while, France-based Terem Moffi, who was given a late invitation to replace injured Victor Boniface, will join the team in Abidjan.

They will be lodged at the Pullman Hotel, Abidjan, the same accommodation as arch rivals Ghana who also arrived Wednesday.

While there was pomp amid the handful of fans who were at the airport, mixed reactions followed from Nigerians, as many expressed concerns about the possibility of the team winning a fourth title.

“I have lowered my expectations from you guys, if you like, get knocked out of the group stage,” a fan with the name Afeez commented.

“I just hope you won’t keep up with the level of disappointment you have been displaying recently. When the Super Eagles were the Eagles, by now everyone in the country will be excited ahead of the coming tournament. Not anymore again,” a fan, Terry Ray said.

Another fan, Maverick also said, “We might actually come back home from the group stage, or maybe qualify with a calculator through third best placed teams.”

Others also expressed fears about the team’s set up and how it could be disastrous for their ambition.

“I hope for the best while expecting nothing to be honest. I am not confident in the team and coaches. We do not have a defensive midfielder and a central attacking midfielder.  The coach wants to play Iwobi as a deep lying midfielder, that’s a highway to hell. Goalkeepers are subpar and there is no cohesion among the players,” a fan with the name Akowonjo commented.

Martins Maverick also wrote, “Peseiro really needs to fix his defence, since day one he took over the job, Super Eagles usually concede first, and we have to chase games.”

Nigeria, who won the AFCON in 1980, 1994 and 2013, are in Group A with hosts Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau. The three times champions will begin their quest for a fourth title on Sunday against Equatorial Guinea before facing Ivory Coast January 18 while the last group game is against Guinea-Bissau January 22.

Peseiro’s team spent a week in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates where they camped for the continental tournament and played two pre-tournament friendlies but their performance has done little to inspire confidence in the Nigerian fans.

They routed Saudi club Al Gharib 12-0 on Sunday and then lost 2-0 to the Syli Stars of Guinea on Monday.

The post Doubts over title chances as Eagles land in Abidjan first appeared on Nigeria Newspapers Online.