Goncalves recognised the quality of Nigeria but pointed out that additional factors played in favour of the Super Eagles
The coach of the Angola national football team, Pedro Goncalves, attributed his team’s 1-0 defeat to Nigeria in the 2023 AFCON quarterfinals to fatigue, highlighting the contrasting travel schedules of the two sides.
While acknowledging Nigeria’s quality, Goncalves told reporters in Abidjan that other factors worked in favour of the Super Eagles.
“It’s true we faced a very strong opponent, but the Nigerian players were fresher than ours. Their physical edge allowed them to create more chances.”
He elaborated on the fatigue factor, stating: “Most of their players compete at a very high level and haven’t left Abidjan throughout the tournament.
“We, however, played in three different cities, which caused fatigue for my players. When you travel like we did and face a strong team like Nigeria, it becomes difficult.”
Goncalves also pointed to the experience gap, mentioning that “most of my players are from the domestic league and lack experience in major tournaments like AFCON.”
Interestingly, during his pre-match press conference, the Portugal coach singled out Ademola Lookman as one of the key players that could wreak havoc against his team, and it turned out the Atalanta forward scored the winning goal that ended Angola’s dream.
The Eagles await their next opponent, which will be determined in the fourth quarter-final match between Cape Verde and South Africa.
Their semifinal match will mark the Super Eagles’ first departure from Abidjan, as the game takes place at Stade de la Paix in Bouake.