Why Peseiro snubbed in-form Nigerian star Akpom

Why Peseiro snubbed in-form Nigerian star Akpom
Middlesbrough's Chuba Akpom (right) and Stoke City's Ki-Jana Hoever battle for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. Picture date: Tuesday March 14, 2023. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images

by Staff Reporter

Friday Mar 24, 2023. 15:00

Nigeria head coach Jose Peseiro has explained why he omitted Chuba Akpom from the Super Eagles squad that will face Guinea-Bissau in the 2023 AFCON qualifiers.

The 27-year-old striker has been in great scoring form for Middlesbrough this season and he is placed at the top of the English Championship scoring charts with 24 goals from 28 starts.

Peseiro claims that he is aware of Akpom but the Portuguese tactician stressed that the Arsenal FC academy product is not a player of interest at the moment.

“Take one guy from our team and put him. Tell me now. [Paul] Onuachu, you don’t like Onuachu? I like all my players, I like them,” Peseiro said on All Nigeria Soccer.

“I understand everybody because if I ask you to choose your twenty players, everybody can choose other players, it’s normal.

“I am a coach, I choose in my mind the best players for our team but if I ask other guys or the 120 million people in Nigeria, they can choose others,” the former Real Madrid assistant manager continued.

“It’s my job, of course I know this player, I checked this player. You know I visit many players, if I choose this one, at this moment I believe in them more than the others, for that I’m a coach. I have responsibility. For that if I lose, cut my neck, not your neck.

“I appreciate, I know this player. My staff, for each weekend 48 matches at least, watching all the players. Yes, he’s a good player, I agree but at this moment I don’t have enough confidence in him. In the future, of course it’s open for everybody.”

Nigeria will take on Guinea-Bissau in Abuja on March 24, before the two teams meet again in Bissau on March 28.

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