Former Real Madrid and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has expressed his desire for Nigeria to win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria are set to face off against the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire in the final match of the competition, scheduled for tonight, February 11, 2024, at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium.
Mourinho’s support for Nigeria stems not only from the historical significance of potentially becoming the first Portuguese coach to win the AFCON but also from his close friendship with Nigeria’s coach, Jose Peseiro.
Mourinho described Peseiro as his “best friend” in football, highlighting their shared background of growing up together and attending the same university, where they spent five years together on a daily basis.
Under Peseiro’s guidance, Nigeria has had an impressive run at the AFCON, remaining undefeated in six games and winning five matches, including a 1-0 victory over their upcoming final opponents.
“My best friend in football is in the final,” Mourinho said.
“The Nigerian coach is my best friend — he grew up with me.
“We studied together. We went to the university at the same time. We spent five years together every day. We left at the same time. He is probably my biggest friend in football. Jose, my big friend. It will be a huge opportunity for him to make history. Never has a Portuguese coach won the AFCON.”
Mourinho sees this final as a significant opportunity for his friend to make history, emphasizing the absence of a Portuguese coach having won the AFCON before.
Additionally, former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand also supports Nigeria’s bid to win the AFCON, expressing confidence in their ability to overcome Cote d’Ivoire and secure their fourth continental title.