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As unpopular Peseiro bows out, what next?

Following the news that Jose Peseiro has resigned from his position as the Technical Adviser of the Super Eagles, the search for his replacement is…

Following the news that Jose Peseiro has resigned from his position as the Technical Adviser of the Super Eagles, the search for his replacement is already on. However, first thing first. It will no doubt gladden the hearts of millions of Nigerians if the Portuguese finally leaves but it is necessary for everyone to know that Peseiro didn’t resign. He only took a walk because his contract, which expired on February 29, wasn’t renewed by the NFF.

Another thing which Nigerians must know is that Peseiro’s farewell message on his official X handle which many have misinterpreted to mean resignation is an indirect way of putting pressure on the NFF to renew his contract. He wants to play smart because he was linked with the Desert Foxes but the Algerian FA recently announced Vladimir Petkovic as the new coach of their national team.

It is also necessary to know that the NFF is yet to issue an official statement to announce the departure of Peseiro. The implication is that the Portuguese might return but that is certainly not the kind of news his critics would like to hear. Well, for now, let’s assume that Peseiro is no longer the coach of the Super Eagles.

Nigerians were eager to see the back of the coach because his reign as manager of the Super Eagles was anything but satisfactory. In his 22 months in charge of the national team of Nigeria, he recorded 11 wins, seven losses and four draws. In his first year which was 2022, Peseiro who was hired by a former NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, managed to win four and lost six matches. Among the six losses was five international friendly matches. It will be recalled that he started his tenure as Coach of the Super Eagles with a 1-2 loss to Mexico in Texas on May 29, 2022.

Despite poor results which culminated in the loss of the 2022 World Cup ticket to the Black Stars of Ghana in Abuja, his contract was renewed by the NFF before the 2023 AFCON on a short term basis. So, between September 2023 to February 29, 2024, the Super Eagles played 13 matches and five of their victories came at the 2023 AFCON where Nigeria finished second behind hosts Cote d ‘Ivoire.

Peseiro’s biggest win with the Super Eagles was the 10-0 whitewash of San Tome and Principe. But the losses under Peseiro that Nigerians won’t forget in a hurry is the 1-0 humbling of the Super Eagles by Guinea Bissau at the MKO Abiola National Stadium Abuja, the same venue they surrendered the 2022 World Cup ticket to Ghana.

It is necessary to note that Super Eagles’ unexpected run at the 2023 AFCON was nothing more than an accidental discharge. Moreover, the coach forced the Super Eagles into playing a defensive formation that was alien to them. Therefore, even as they managed to win matches, the style of football Nigerian national teams are known for was missing. The Super Eagles literally struggled to cope with the new formation but the coach was able to achieve something. He hoodwinked some people into believing that he is a good coach.

Indeed, he was able to win some fans even among his die-hard critics because he produced the results that they wanted desperately. However, Peseiro failed to pull the wool over the eyes of other Nigerians who found the Super Eagles new defensive strategy irritating. Thus, such people insisted that Peseiro should leave even if he succeeded in winning the AFCON. 

Well, at the 2023 AFCON, hard work and a dint of luck kept the Super Eagles going until the bubble burst in the final against the Elephants of Cote d’ Ivoire who applied pressure to dismantle the fragile defensive formation built by Peseiro. When it mattered most, the Portuguese’s technical naivety was exposed again as he couldn’t come up with a counter plan to release his team from the iron grip of the Elephants.

As they sat back to catch their opponents on counter attack, the Super Eagles invited more pressure on themselves. It was rather embarrassing that the team with one of the best attacks in Africa was played defensively and rendered one of the best strikers in the world, Victor Osimhen, impotent. So, it is right to say Peseiro’s poor tactics was responsible for the defeat in the AFCON final.

Since a coach is as good as his last match, Peseiro who is quite unpopular among Nigerian football fans doesn’t deserve another opportunity as the Super Eagles coach. If in 22 months, he was unable to give the Super Eagles a definite formation or identity, it is unlikely he would do anything different even if given the whole time in the world. Therefore, the reports that he has bade us farewell is good riddance to bad rubbish. He came, saw but failed to conquer. Therefore, someone else should be given a chance.

However, it is disturbing that some Nigerians are already ‘anointing and appointing’ their coaches for the Super Eagles. Names like Sunday Oliseh, Emmanuel Amuneke, Finidi George and Austin Eguavoen have been mentioned. Of course, they are not useless coaches but do they have what it takes to coach the Super Eagles? Some of them had failed with the Super Eagles in the past. So, in as much as the calls for indigenous coaches to be given the Super Eagles’ job are not only patriotic but timely, we have to tread with caution.

It is on this note that I want to join other Nigerians who are making a strong case for the quartet of Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Amuneke, Finidi George and Vincent Enyeama to be given the job. Even if I am not so comfortable with Amuneke and Finidi, I am one hundred percent in support of those rooting for Amokachi who won the 2013 AFCON as an assistant to the late Stephen Keshi.

Apart from his illustrious playing career, ‘Da Bull’ has the prerequisite knowledge and experience to coach the Super Eagles. Having understudied Keshi for so many years, the football pundit is not a newcomer to the national team set-up. Even if he has not coached for some time, Amokachi has been active with the Super Eagles behind the scenes. And when I listened to his commentaries at the 2023 AFCON, my belief in his technical ability increased. He exhibited a vast knowledge of the game and his observations on team formations and tactics were spot on.

Therefore, we don’t have to go to sokoto for what is right inside our ‘shokoto’. Moreover, it is only colonial mentality that will make any Nigerian to feel that no indigenous coach is good enough to handle the Super Eagles. Amokachi won’t disappoint if he is given a free hand to manage the Super Eagles. Without a doubt, he has ability and charisma and can easily command the respect of the players. Yes, it is said he is stubborn but that will also be a good antidote for some of the busybodies in the NFF. So, when Peseiro’s case is finally laid to rest, the NFF shouldn’t look elsewhere for who to coach the Super Eagles. ‘Da Bull’ is the man for the job.


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