AFCON 2023: ‘Nigeria have the best striker here’ in Osimhen – Gasset

Ivory Coast coach Jean-Louis Gasset has admitted that his side must correct some errors before facing Nigeria on Thursday in their next Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2023) game, but maintained that they remain confident of success.

The veteran French manager was speaking after seeing his side defeat Guinea Bissau 2-0 on Saturday in the AFCON 2023 opener, with goals from Seko Fofana and Jean-Philippe Krasso.

He said that he knows the strength of the three-time African champions including having the current best striker on the continent in their squad list.

Super Eagles AFCON 2023
Osimhen of Nigeria heads goal – Photo by Icon Sport

“We are relieved to have won this very stressful match,” The 69-year-old told reporters.

“It's the start of the tournament and it was crucial to begin with a victory at home. We struggled to manage spells when we don't have the ball and need to be more clinical up front.

“We know Nigeria's strengths – their attacking line-up is impressive and their striker is the best in Africa.”

Super Eagles wasteful in AFCON 2023 opener

He was of course reffering to Napoli forward Victor Osimhen, who opened his AFCON 2023 campaign with a goal versus Equatorial Guinea in a disappointing draw for Nigeria.

The Super Eagles, who were wasteful in front of goal, also had the Equatorial Guinean goalkeeper Jesus Owono to deal with as well in game.

Group A takes shape

However, Gasset maintained that his players will step up against Nigeria, who now have to put up a courageous display against the hosts as a defeat could spell doom for the current African footballer of the year and his other teammates when they square off at the Alassane Ouattara stadium in a delicately poised match on 18 January.

Group A results from the opening two games have thrown the group wide open, with the Ivorians sitting on top of the table with three points, followed closely by Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria with a point each and sitting second and third, respectively, while Guinea Bissau are fourth on the log with no point.

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Rotimi Akindele

Rotimi Akindele is a Sports Journalist with almost two decades' experience. He is a TV and radio host, commentator and writer who has covered major sporting events across the globe. Akindele's sports content has been listened to and read by a global audience. He is a well-known figure within Nigeria and the African football scene.