Nigeria Thirsty To Win 2023 AFCON, Sports Minister Charges NFF, Peseiro

The Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Owan Enoh has admonished the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, and Super Eagles gaffer, Jose Peseiro to ensure a good outing for the Super Eagles at the 2023 AFCON.

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, AFCON, will take place from Jan. 13 to Feb. 11, 2024 in Côte d’Ivoire.

The minister stated this on Wednesday in Abuja at a meeting with the NFF and Peseiro, to deliberate on strategic plans and preparations for the success of the 2023 AFCON.

Mr Enoh expressed concern about the Super Eagles’ form, especially with the sluggish start to the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The Eagles were forced by both lowly-rated Lesotho and Zimbabwe to uninspiring draws in November.

The minister said that Nigerians are passionate about the round leather game and are thirsty to win the 2023 AFCON again, after more than 10 years of waiting.

“Our country is so passionate about football, such that amidst all other sports, football is about the only sport that has an entry in the nation’s national budget.

“That is how important football is, because whatever happens to it happens to us as a country.

“After 10 years, the country is thirsty to win the AFCON. It will matter a great deal to the Nigerian people, and to the Government of President Bola Tinubu.

“It is important to not just leave the task to the NFF alone, but the Government is also interested in being able to tell the Nigerian people what is being done in that regard,” Mr Enoh said.

He reiterated the Federal Government’s unwavering support for Nigerian football, and emphasised the significance of meticulous planning and cohesive strategies to propel the national team to victory at the AFCON

Mr Enoh said that plans are underway to settle outstanding issues with the coach and assured him of an enabling environment to help the team thrive.

According to him, AFCON represents a pivotal opportunity for the national team to showcase its strength and resilience on the continental stage.

Earlier, NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau assured Nigerians that there is no need to panic, as all hands are on deck, working round the clock to ensure the Eagles soar high at the AFCON in Cote d’Ivoire.

He said that the NFF was committed to ensuring that the Super Eagles perform well at the tournament.

Super Eagles gaffer, Jose Peseiro who has been criticised lately for underperformance, pledged to ensure improvement in the team and steer the national team to greatness in Côte d’Ivoire.

The Portuguese tactician however underscored the need for a robust preparation, while assuring that the technical crew will work with the players to sort out grey areas in the team.