Nigeria’s Portuguese manager, José Santos Peseiro has called on the three-time African champions to show guts, grit and gumption by aiming for victory over hosts Portugal in Thursday’s prestige international friendly in Lisbon.
Both countries’ A squads go for each other’s jugular at the 50,000 -capacity Estádio José Alvalade in what is the first senior international clash between them, as from 6.45pm Portugal time (7.45pm Nigeria time).
‘Sincerely, I am wishing that this is a FIFA World Cup group stage match, because I tell you, that is the level at which Nigeria should be playing. Even though that is not the case, our objective is to go out there and win.
‘It is good that we are playing big teams. I am enamoured by that, because this is good for the team and it will sharpen the team to achieve our goal of winning the next Africa Cup of Nations. We also have the opportunity to test a number of players.’
Peseiro has 23 players to pick from in what is perhaps his biggest test since resuming as Nigeria’s manager in the summer. Goalkeepers Maduka Okoye, Francis Uzoho and Adebayo Adeleye are in Lisbon, just as defenders William Ekong, Chidozie Awaziem, Kevin Akpoguma, Calvin Bassey, Tyronne Ebuehi, Bruno Onyemaechi, Bright Osayi-Samuel and Ebube Duru.
In the midfield, the options are Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo, Frank Onyeka, Alex Iwobi and Joseph Ayodele-Aribo.
At the fore, Peseiro will be able to pick among France -based duo of Moses Simon and Terem Moffi, Belgium-based Paul Onuachu, Emmanuel Dennis, Cyriel Dessers, Ademola Lookman and Samuel Chukwueze.
On Tuesday, the Ambassador of Nigeria to Portugal, His Excellency Alex Kefas paid a visit to the Super Eagles at their training session. He urged the team to win the encounter against Portugal. Team captain William Ekong thanked the ambassador and his staff and assured that the team will fight for a win in Thursday’s match.