'We expected a 4-2-4' - Interim Elephants coach admits Peseiro's change of formation caught CIV off guard 

Published: February 10, 2024
'We expected a 4-2-4' - Interim Elephants coach admits Peseiro's change of formation caught CIV off guard 

Interim coach of the Elephants, Emerse Faé has admitted that Jose Peseiro's change of formation for the second matchday in Group A was a key reason they were outplayed by the Super Eagles. 


In arguably their best game of the tournament, the Super Eagles secured all three points courtesy of William Troost-Ekong's match-winning goal in the 55th minute, scoring from the spot after Victor Osimhen was fouled in the area. 


The formation preferred by Peseiro is a 4-4-2 and one of its hybrids is a 4-2-4 but the Portuguese set up his team in a 3-4-3 against the Elephants - a system he tested in a friendly game against Guinea before the start of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. 


Searching for a solution to the Super Eagles' defensive crisis, Peseiro opted to play with five defenders when the team is out of possession with wing-backs Zaidu Sanusi and Ola Aina dropping into defence to form a back five. 


Emerse Faé confessed that the tactical switch by Peseiro caught the Elephants off guard. 


Speaking at the pre-match press conference before Sunday's AFCON final, Faé stated: "I believe the main lesson that we have drawn from the group stage game against Nigeria is that in this competition you have to expect the unexpected against the teams because we had prepared Nigeria's group stage game based on what was happening in the past few months, playing in 4-4-2 and when they arrived they were playing 5-4-1 so that took us aback.

"We expected a 4-2-4 and then they ended up playing in a 5-4-1, so from 4-2-4 to 5-4-1 so we had to focus on what we wanted to do, what we wanted to set up and we have to ready to have tactical dispensations that could change for tomorrow's game.

"Tomorrow as I said we are going to prepare looking at ourselves and try to challenge them, try to control the game, being patient in the beginning but focusing on our strengths."


Faé is not thinking of tomorrow's final being settled by penalties, saying the plan is to physically dominate the opponents.  


"Nigeria had almost a faultless run. As the competition progressed they gained strength and became more dangerous offensively and more solid defensively.


"For us it's the opposite, we gained strength from the match against Senegal in the round of 16. We will try to tire them out and wear them out over 90 minutes "



Ifeanyi Emmanuel 




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