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AFCON 2023: Jose Mourinho backs Nigeria to beat Cote d’Ivoire to lift title – “My best friend is in the final”

The former Chelsea and Manchester United boss has thrown his support behind the three-time winners

Former Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has revealed he wants Nigeria to win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, Soccernet.ng reports.

Nigeria’s Super Eagles will trade tackles with the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium tonight (February 11, 2024) in the final of the competition.

A Nigerian win would see Jose Peseiro become the first Portuguese coach to lift the AFCON trophy in the competition’s 67-year history.

More than the historical angle, however, Mourinho is backing Peseiro to guide Nigeria to victory because of their long-standing friendship.

Jose Peseiro

Speaking with FIVE UK in an excerpted clip of a yet-to-be-released episode, Mourinho described Peseiro as his “best friend”, adding that they grew up together and attended the same university, where they “spent five years together every day”.

Peseiro’s Super Eagles are unbeaten in six games at the AFCON, winning five matches, including a 1-0 win over Sunday’s 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.”

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand also backs Nigeria to overcome Cote d’Ivoire and lift a fourth continental title.

Reacting to the Mourinho video post, Ferdinand wrote: “Let’s go Super Eagles.”

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Nigeria’s meeting with Cote d’Ivoire in the AFCON final starts at 9 pm.