Peseiro: Boniface’s Absence Cost Eagles AFCON Title

Former Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro, claimed that the absence of Victor Boniface from Nigeria’s African Cup of Nations squad cost the team the title in Ivory Coast, according to reports.

Nigeria were on the verge of winning its fourth AFCON title last February, but fell 2-1 in the final to hosts Ivory Coast despite grabbing a first-half lead.

The Eagles appeared to duplicate their 1-0 triumph over the Ivorians from the group stage when captain William Troost-Ekong, who had scored a penalty to decide the first meeting, rose to head in the opener late in the first half.

However, Franck Kessie equalised shortly after the hour mark, and Sebastien Haller converted Simon Adingra’s cross in the 81st minute to secure Ivory Coast’s third AFCON title.

In an interview with AfricafootUnited, the Portuguese strategist indicated that if Boniface had been available for the competition, he could have made a significant difference.

“I will say that Boniface would have made the difference without injury,” Peseiro said.

“He was very confident and can play comfortably in our two-man attacking style. He can also play on both sides of the strikers and that would have made him our invisible arc in the tournament.

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“Our options to refine our style were limited in his (Boniface) absence.”

Meanwhile, Boniface is scheduled to return to play in April following a three-month absence due to injury.