The Nigeria Football Federation has set a semifinal target for the Portuguese tactician at the continental championship
Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro insists that Udinese goalkeeper Maduka Okoye and Empoli full-back Tyrone Ebuehi remain in his plans for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, Soccernet.ng reports.
Okoye was Nigeria’s number-one goalkeeper at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, where the Super Eagles were knocked out in the first knockout round.
However, the former Sparta Rotterdam goalie has not made an appearance for the Super Eagles since Peseiro took charge of the team last year.
In his absence, Peseiro has made Francis Uzoho his first-choice goalkeeping option, with an able deputy in Adebayo Adeleye.
There have also been calls for Sweden-based Jonathan Rasheed to be invited and given a chance to impress.
In the case of Ebuehi, the former Benfica defender has been in and out of the Super Eagles squad as Peseiro has numerous options to pick from for the right-back role.
Fenerbahce full-back Bright Osayi-Samuel has locked down that right-back role since making his international bow, while Nottingham Forest’s Ola Aina is a reliable backup.
Boavista’s Chidozie Awaziem and Kenneth Omeruo are centre-back options who can do a decent job at right-back during an emergency.
Still, Peseiro has refused to rule out Okoye and Ebuehi’s chances of making Nigeria’s squad to the 2023 AFCON, maintaining that the duo has as much chance as anyone to be on the plane to Ivory Coast in January.
When asked during an interview with Sportitalia (via TMW) whether he would take Okoye and Ebuehi to the Africa Cup of Nations, the Portuguese gaffer responded:
“They belong to the group of players we follow and are part of the list of those we normally call.
“This way, they can participate in any competition the Super Eagles play in.”
Nigeria will be gunning for a fourth AFCON honour in Ivory Coast after lifting the title in 1980, 1994, and 2013.