Eagles have new identity – Ekong


By: Johnny Edward

Super Eagles assistant captain, William Troost-Ekong, says the team now have a new identity under Jose Peseiro despite losing in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Peseiro led the the Eagles to the AFCON final but they lost 2-1 to hosts Ivory Coast but has been under intense criticism while in charge of the team.

And despite Peseiro’s contract with the three-time Africa champions lapsing at the end of February, Ekong wants the Portuguese coach to continue.

“I do back him (Peseiro) 100 per cent, he gave us an identity at the AFCON, “Ekong told CNN.

“Before the tournament, we had no playing style or what we wanted to do. However, it might be our weakness in the final, but it was our strength throughout the tournament.

“I think we have to give him a massive compliment for getting the team going after some difficult years, so he also has to come out with some credit. I think he too would have wanted to be standing here with a winners medal instead.”

Meanwhile, former Eagles striker, Benedict Akwuegbu, disagreed with Ekong over the Eagles now having a new identity under Peseiro.

Akwuegbu, a member of the Eagles squad that reached the final of the AFCON in 2000, believes the team has not played to their strength in recent games and don’t have an identity under the Portuguese.

“We have been too predictable under Peseiro,” he said.

“We have to go back to our traditional style of attacking football, which worked for us in the past. The Eagles that played at the last AFCON were not the team I expected to see. That is not our identity (to defend too deeply).”

Former Eagles goalkeeper, Dosu Joseph backed Akwuegbu, insisting the Eagles didn’t play as a team with offensive qualities.

“At the AFCON, the Eagles didn’t play like many of us thought they would, considering the qualities we had in attack. Many may say because of the exclusion of Wilfred Ndidi, Victor Boniface and Sadiq Umar but I feel lack of trust in some players and a bit of fear on the part of the coach cost us. We were not just daring enough. We should have won that tournament.”