Peseiro defends Uzoho, hails team defence

Francis Uzoho


Super Eagles coach, Jose Peseiro, has defended goalkeeper, Francis Uzoho, in the wake of his team’s 2-1 loss to Algeria in an international friendly on Tuesday, The PUNCH reports.

A badly positioned Uzoho was beaten by a 28-yard shot from Youcef Atal after a corner kick was poorly cleared by the Eagles.

This was not the first time that the Cyprus-based goalie had been beaten with long-range shots.
The 26-year-old had spilled Thomas Partey’s fierce shot just outside the box in March when the Eagles were held 1-1 in Abuja, ended the team’s qualification hopes for the World Cup.

“Anybody can make a mistake,” Peseiro told ESPN.

“But the first big mistake was our second goal. We scored a clear goal and the referee said offside. It was not offside. Everybody can see it was no offside.”

He was also pleased with the centre back pairing of Calvin Bassey and Kevin Akpoguma in the defeat.

“We did a fantastic job in defensive possession. I think we can do more in offensive possession. We can control more of the ball, we can show more character, we can be more aggressive.”

Despite the defeat, Peseiro remains optimistic that he is on course to win the next AFCON.

“I am more confident than before after this match,” he added.

“One more step to that challenge to win the AFCON. Of course, before that, we need to qualify, we need more camping, we need more friendly matches because we want our team to play at a high level.

“For that, we need to improve our organisation, try new dynamics, new set pieces and work hard and believe that we can be better. We have the talents but we have to improve our organisation.”

Up next for the Eagles is a friendly against Portugal on November 17 in Lisbon and Peseiro is relishing the encounter.

“I am happy to play against Portugal. It is my country,” he added.

“We will do a good match. I hope the players who are injured recover (in time for this match).

“I will choose the best players, but I hope no big injuries in the team.”

Against Algeria, the Eagles were without Victor Osimhen, Wilfred Ndidi, William Ekong, Leon Balogun, Ahmed Musa, Henry Onyekuru and Emmanuel Dennis due to injuries.