2026 WCQ: Peseiro blames the draw with Zimbabwe on long hours on the road and absentee Eagles’
Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro has made a shallow excuse after his team played a 1-1 draw against Zimbabwe in Sunday’s 2026 World Cup Qualifiers Group C encounter.
The Super Eagles came into the match as favourites to win but found themselves trailing in the first half.
The three-time African champions conceded in the 26th minute through Walter Musona’s brilliant free-kick from 35 yards out.
The goal clearly unsettled the visitors and they never showed any intent to recover for the remainder of the first half.
The second half was much better for Nigeria following a triple substitution which also involved the goalscorer of the equaliser Kelechi Iheanacho.
Speaking after the match, Jose Peseiro blamed the “long” seven-hour trip to Butare, Rwanda where the match was hosted.
The team arrived in Central East Africa a day before the game.
“It was a tough, difficult trip from Nigeria in the flight, many hours, the players didn’t rest enough for quick play at the same level,” said Peseiro, as cited by Pulse Sports.
He added, “First half, very bad, second half, much better.”
Peseiro also named five players his side missed against Zimbabwe.
When asked whether the absence of some key players contributed to the Super Eagles’ failure to record a win against Zimbabwe, Peseiro said: “We missed Osimhen, Ndidi, Taiwo, Zaidu, and Chukwueze, but I think we had enough to beat Zimbabwe.”
Nigeria will now face South Africa in their next World Cup qualifier in June next year.