Mourinho labels Nigeria coach Peseiro his ‘best friend’ ahead of AFCON 2024 final

Jose Mourinho has thrown his support behind his football best friend, Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro, hoping that he comes out top after the encounter and make history ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations 2024 final showdown between the Super Eagles and Ivory Coast at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on Sunday.

The final, which has been labelled a ‘classic', is generating lots of interest from footballing quarters across the globe, with the two teams looking to make history – Nigeria will be gunning for their title, and the Ivorians will be looking to equal the number of titles that Nigeria currently possesses with a win.

Nigeria made it to the final with a penalty shootout win over eventual bronze medal winners South Africa after the game had ended 1-1 in regulation time while Ivory Coast defeated DR Congo 1-0 courtesy of a lone strike by Sebastien Haller.

Nigeria coach
Photo by Icon Sport

What Mourinho said about Nigeria coach Peseiro

Speaking to football.com in a yet to be released full video interview, Mourinho praised the two sides and wished them well but declared that he would prefer to see his best friend win the AFCON title as Nigeria coach.

“My best friend in football is in the final, the Nigerian coach is my best friend. He grew up with me and we studied together, we went to the university the same day, we spent five years together everyday and we left at the same time,” the former AS Roma coach revealed about the Nigeria coach.

“He's probably my biggest friend in football (Jose) and he has a huge opportunity to make history because never has a Portuguese coach won the African Cup.”

The words will definitely encourage the Nigerian coach, who had ensured that his team had remained unbeaten in the competition and said that the mindset since the knockout stages is that of “every game is a cup final”.

Mourinho on his best friend's appointment as Nigeria coach

When Peseiro was announced as Nigeria coach by the former Football Federation administration, the Federation president claimed that he had a chat with Mourinho, who was on Peseiro's CV as one of his references, and he highly recommended him for the job.

An interview from Mourinho back in 2005, while in the Portuguese league, emerged afterwards, and he had gone on to back his fellow countryman and rated him highly by describing him as one of the top-level coaches that would emerge from their country.

“Portugal has quite a large number of good coaches that will be highly talked about by the world in the near future,” Mourinho said in an interview about his best friend 19 years ago. 

“Peseiro has all the experience of working at Real Madrid, and he also took Sporting Lisbon to the final of the UEFA Cup. That's a big achievement with a side as big as Sporting Lisbon and he might coach in England soon. He is a good coach.”

Peseiro will be hoping to register his first major silverware as a coach with a win in the AFCON 2024 final.

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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.