Hosts, Cote d’Ivoire beat Nigeria 2-1 on Sunday night, to win the 34th edition of the African Cup of Nations, at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium.
Both teams had met earlier in the tournament, having been drawn in group A. Nigeria finished second in the group, while the Ivorians had to settle for the last ‘Best losers’ spot to advance to the knockout stages.
William Troost-Ekong gave Nigeria the lead, before Frank Kessie and Sebastien Haller both scored in the second half, to hand Ivory Coast their third AFCON trophy.
What’s next for the Nigeria men’s national team?
A lot has been said about Peseiro’s future with the Super Eagles. But for what it’s worth, the Portuguese tactician exceeded the expectations of many Nigerian fans, coming into this tournament.
The terms of his last contract extension in September 2023 now means that Peseiro’s contract as the coach of the senior national team of Nigeria has expired, following the conclusion of AFCON.
New talks are now expected to be held on his future.
Nigeria will continue its quest to qualify for the 2026 World cup. The Super Eagles are drawn in group C, with Rwanda, South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Benin. With just two points from the first two qualifying games, Nigeria will be hoping to turn their fortunes when they face South Africa in June.
The qualifiers for next year’s African Cup of Nations will be starting in March, and Nigeria will look to put Sunday’s disappointments behind them.
The tournament saw the emergence of new Eagles. Goalkeeper, Stanley Nwabali caught the eyes of many, as he starred between the sticks for Nigeria. William Troost-Ekong, Ademola Lookman, Frank Onyeka, Alhassan Yusuf also drew compliments for stepping up in the tournament.
Alex Iwobi drew the most critics during the tournament, as he lacked the attacking wit to effect games for Nigeria. Moving forward, one of the many worries of Peseiro, or any future manager of the super eagles, is how to bring out the best in him, or find a capable replacement.
A good outing in the just-concluded tournament means will be seeing a lot of upward movements of Nigerian players in the next transfer window.