2023 Afcon qualifiers: Peseiro blames Nigeria’s shock loss to Guinea-Bissau on referee

Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro.NFF.
  • Nigeria coach blamed loss on ‘poor officiating’
  • Peseiro decried penalty denied & ‘little time’ added on
  • Guinea-Bissau stunned Super Eagles in Abuja

WHAT HAPPENED? Peseiro cited Egyptian referee Kotey Alexander for what he termed ‘poor officiating’ as the Super Eagles failed to sparkle at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.

Troyes forward Mama Balde scored the lone goal in the 29th minute but the Portuguese coach felt the player should have been sent off for a foul on Kevin Akoguma while he also wanted more time added on.

Nigeria huffed and puffed with Victor Osimhen, who is in hot form for his club Napoli, and his strike partners Kelechi Iheanacho and Paul Onuachu feeding off scraps while Samuel Chukwueze wasted a couple of chances.

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The Super Eagles midfield two of Wilfred Ndidi and Alex Iwobi also failed to create meaningful opportunities and Guinea-Bissau held on to claim the historic win.

WHAT DID HE SAY? “The referee failed to give the Guinea-Bissau player Mama Balde a red card after going in hard on Kevin Akoguma in the second half of the game,” said Peseiro, as quoted by Pulse Sports.

“The referee did not give a penalty to the Super Eagles striker after he was roughly handled in the penalty box.

“The added time given by the referee did not justify the time wasted for the treatment of the Super Eagles defender and I was expecting 10 minutes from the referee.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The loss saw Nigeria blow an opportunity to lead Group A, handing the initiative to Guinea-Bissau, who are top on seven points from three matches, one more than the Super Eagles, ahead of the return tie on Monday.

It also piles more pressure on Peseiro who has won just two of his seven matches in charge, against minnows Sierra Leone and Sao Tome and Principe, since his appointment last May.

WHAT’S MORE? Peseiro is, however, staying positive despite the setback. “It is one match, [in] one match, any team can lose. I believe if we play [again] like we played today [Friday], we [can] beat any team,” he added.

WHAT’S NEXT? Nigeria are away to Guinea-Bissau and will need a positive result to avoid losing further ground in the qualification race for next year’s tournament in the Ivory Coast.