Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro emphasised that all his players in the Super Eagles squad deserve playing time, asserting that everyone in the camp is focused on the upcoming game against Cameroon.
The Super Eagles secured the second spot in Group A, trailing Equatorial Guinea. Despite creating numerous goal-scoring opportunities, they managed only three goals in three games, one of which was an own goal.
Questions arose about the absence of Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho, who had expressed his readiness to contribute.
Super Eagles fans curious about Iheanacho
Peseiro addressed concerns by stating that Iheanacho remains in his plans and was confident the striker would play and score for Nigeria.
“If something happened between me and Kelechi, he wouldn't have come, would have stayed back at Leicester,” Peseiro clarified during the press conference.
“You know about Kelechi's injury. He was recovering during our camping, he arrived on the day of the opening match.
“He started collective work with us one day after. It is the reason.
“When a player has come and recovered, the coach and medical staff need to manage to see if he's fit or not, ready or not, it's clear. Easy answer as coach but for you of course you cannot understand that.
“Kelechi, we believe too much in him and he's going to play and going to score.”
He explained Iheanacho's delayed arrival and recovery from injury, expressing confidence in the player's abilities and anticipated contribution to the team.
Nigeria coach aware of Super Eagles scoring woes
The coach also acknowledged Nigeria's challenge in converting chances during the group stage, considering the Eagles' ability to concede only one goal a positive aspect.
Peseiro outlined his primary plan for the match against the Indomitable Lions, emphasising the importance of teamwork, goal-scoring, and defensive resilience.
“Play together, play like a team, and the most important thing is the result, to win the game. This tournament is a short one, and we need to be decisive in specific positions,” Peseiro explained.
“That is why I prefer to keep things tight at the back and at the same time we want to play offensive football. Tomorrow, we want to keep a clean sheet and score at least one goal. Then maybe we could get more.
As Nigeria face Cameroon for a spot in the quarter-finals at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Ivory Coast on Saturday at 9pm Nigeria time, Peseiro's strategic approach and confidence in the squad's capabilities will be put to the test.