Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro has acknowledged that his side faces a difficult test against Angola in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals on Saturday.
The clash at the Felix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan is the opening fixture of the AFCON last eight and as well be the first time that both teams face each other in the tournament.
At the pre-match press conference in Abidjan on Thursday, the Super Eagles gaffer admitted that the Palancas Negras of Angola are a good team.
“It’s a quarter-final match. Both teams want to reach the semi-finals. It will be a tough match; we will bring commitment and sacrifice to try to overcome this great team, even if it’s not a big name, to reach the semi-final,” Peseiro stated.
The Portuguese manager added that Angola’s quality cannot be underestimated just because they lack the pedigree of some bigger African teams.
“Angola is not a big name in Africa, but they play very well. They are not here by luck; they have shown a lot of capability to reach the quarter-finals,” he said.
Peseiro emphasized Nigeria will need to be strong at both ends of the pitch against their in-form opponents. “Our team has scored 5 goals in 4 matches so far. We will attack with 11 and defend with 11 as well,” he asserted.
Midfielder Alex Iwobi echoed the manager’s sentiments, stressing the need for focus and intensity against the tournament surprise package as Nigeria target a semi-final spot.
“We have to respect Angola a lot. If they are at this stage of the competition, it means they are a great team. We need the entire team to defend,” Iwobi said.
The Super Eagles dispatched arch rivals Cameroon 2-0 at the same venue in the round of 16 to reach the quarter-finals. As three-time AFCON winners, Nigeria are expected to have too much quality and experience for their opponents on paper.