By Aluta News
Jan. 12, 2024
Cote D’Ivoire Coach, Jean-Louis Gasset, has confirmed that one of his star players and Borrussia Dortmund of Germany striker, Sebastian Haller, will not play the opening game of AFCON 2023 against Guinea Bissau.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gasset said this at the team’s press conference on Friday in Abidjan.
Gasset, who also confirmed that one other player was also struggling with a muscle injury, assured the supporters that there was no cause for alarm.
He was reluctant to rule out Haller against Nigeria when asked, but explained that the team had five days to prepare for the Super Eagles.
He said there were no longer small teams in Africa again, adding that his players were aware of the objectives of coming into the competition.
“We want to start very well, we respect other teams. We need to be fit and dominate the game.
“Guinea Bissau has some technically gifted players that we must prepare for, don’t forget they beat Nigeria in the qualifiers,” Gasset said.
The coach also confirmed that former Arsenal player, Nicolas Pepe, was also getting in shape ahead of the 2023 AFCON but not fully fit to play many minutes yet.
“Pepe is coming back slowly, he had a kneel injury which is done with. He’s not ready for 90 minutes but we will integrate him gradually,” he said.
One of the players who attended the pre-opening AFCON 2023 press conference, Frank Kessie, urged the supporters to come out in their large numbers on Saturday to support the team to do well at the tournament.
Kessie explained that he was aware of the pressure on him as one of the senior players in the team, adding that he was ready to handle it with maturity.
The Al-Ahli Saudi FC midfielder said Nigeria’s Super Eagles have a huge strike force but every other team in the group has to be taken seriously too.