Ivorian football pundit Mamadou Gaye has said that Nigeria are psychologically stronger than Cote D’Ivoire going into Saturday’s final African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier in Abidjan.
The Super Eagles have a 4-1 advantage going into the game that could see them qualify to play in South Africa next year.
Gaye, a former analyst on SuperSport, said that the fact that the Super Eagles are being trained by coach Stephen Keshi was responsible for the psychological defeat of the Ivorians when they came to Kaduna two weeks ago.
He blamed the Ivorian FA for not placing first team coach Sabri Lamouchi in charge of the squad instead asking Saraka Norbert to train the home-based team.
“They have already killed the psychology of the players by failing to draft Sabri Lamouchi who is the team A coach to handle the home boys and psychologically when the players saw your Big Boss on the bench against them [in Kaduna], a Nations Cup winner, they froze out and that will repeat itself here in Abidjan,” Gaye declared.
The Elephants have played in both previous editions of the CHAN tournament, a competition only open to footballers based in local leagues in their countries.
Nigeria are seeking their maiden participation and need to avoid defeat by three goals on Saturday.