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Football stakeholders unanimous on no contract renewal for Peseiro

Without a doubt, one of the most topical issues in Nigerian football at the moment is the continuous decline of the men’s senior national team,…

Without a doubt, one of the most topical issues in Nigerian football at the moment is the continuous decline of the men’s senior national team, the Super Eagles under Technical Adviser Jose Vitor dos Santos Peseiro and whether or not the Portuguese should be handed a fresh contract in May.

Following the termination of Gernot Rohr’s contract by the former board of the NFF in 2021, a former captain of the Super Eagles, Austin Eguavoen, held sway briefly before the appointment of Peseiro as the substantive Technical Adviser on May 15, 2022.

However, the reign of the former Sporting CP of Portugal, SC Braga, Panathinaikos, Rapid Bucuresti, Al Ahly of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela coach has failed to impact positively on the Super Eagles as the former African champions have moved from one defeat to another under the Portuguese.

It is also on record that in nine matches played so far by the team under the tutelage of Peseiro, the Super Eagles have lost six and managed to win only three against less endowed oppositions. The Super Eagles’ first match with Peseiro in charge of the team ended in a 1-2 loss to Mexico in an international friendly. The team went on to lose 0-1 to Ecuador, 1-2 to Algeria, 0-2 to Costa Rica, 0-4 to Portugal, and the most recent 0-1 loss on home soil to Guinea Bissau.

Although the Super Eagles managed to take back their pound of flesh in the 1-0 defeat of the Wild Dogs of Guinea Bissau in the return leg of the 2023 AFCON Qualifiers in Bissau, most Nigerian football stakeholders have had enough of Peseiro already.

Consequently, most football stakeholders who spoke to Trust Sports were unanimous in their opinion that Peseiro who is reportedly earning as much as $70,000 a month has not done enough to be offered another contract by the NFF.

A former Chairman of Gombe State Football Association and Special Assistant to the Governor of Gombe State on Information Management and Strategy, Alhaji Ahmed Shaibu Gara-Gombe said employing Peseiro was a huge mistake which shouldn’t be repeated by any right thinking person.

“In the first place, employing him was wrong, not to talk of giving him another contract. His past was characterised by failure and he has maintained his tradition with the Super Eagles.

“The best thing is to invoke the termination clause of the contract and sack him. NFF shouldn’t wait until he does more damage. Under Peseiro, the Super Eagles are without philosophy, character, pattern or purpose.

“To whom much is given much is expected. We have given so much to him but we are getting less. Instead we are losing matches all the time,” said Gara-Gombe.

On his part, the chairman of the FCT Football Association, Alhaji Adam Mouktar Mohammed said “Well, I still think we are cautiously optimistic to make judgments about the coach and the team as a lot of new players and experiments are ongoing.

“Peseiro’s present record with the Super Eagles is three wins and six losses.  I don’t feel he has had the impact to meet the huge expectations. His body language doesn’t suggest he is confident he will be offered a new contract but we wait to see.

“If the NFF feels he has done well and sees the potential in him to make the Super Eagles successful, then they will take the best decision for the country.”

A football coach and sports journalist, Patrick Ngwaogu, who was Abia Warriors’s Match Reader opined that since a coach is as good as his last match, Peseiro has failed with the Super Eagles and should be shown the exit door.

“Every coach is as good as his last match. Before anyone should talk about renewing Peseiro’s contract, it is advisable we look at his performance within the period of his present contract.

“How many matches has he played and what are the results? How positively has he impacted our football? The renewal cannot be automatic. But, the NFF are his employers. They are the only people who know why he was employed and they are the ones who can decide otherwise,” said Ngwaogu.

Another veteran sports journalist and former Secretary General of the Sports writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Richard Jideaka, also said Peseiro has not done enough to deserve another contract from Nigeria.

“My answer is no because in his over 10 months in charge, he hasn’t performed well to warrant renewal of his contract. His win rate is very poor and the team has neither discernable nor progressive style of play. I think the Super Eagles job is bigger than Peseiro and the NFF should not extend or renew his contract,” said the NFF accredited match commissioner.

For football administer, Harry Yachi, it is high time the NFF stopped gambling with the passion of Nigerians. According to him, Peseiro is not qualified to be called Super Eagles Technical Adviser.

“It is time for the NFF to stop gambling with our football. Peseiro has no business with our football. He does not have enough knowledge of African football. Those who appointed him do not mean well for our football.

“You can’t give what you don’t have. Peseiro does not have the capacity to move Nigeria football forward. How many matches has he played and how many has he won? It’s unfortunate that at the end of the day, he will be fired and huge sums of money will be paid to him in the name of compensation. I blame those who gave him the first contract,” said the former Team Manager of Babanawa FC.

However, a former NFF presidential candidate, Hon. Lumumba Dah Adeh and a medical practitioner, Dr. John Ogbadu, blamed both Peseiro and the players for the recent decline.

In his opinion, Lumumba said in all sincerity Peseiro has failed to perform not only in the area of results but also his failure to produce a steady squad for the Super Eagles.

“He keeps juggling players here and there. The man has not demonstrated any capacity to lead the team.

“The players too have failed to understand what football means to Nigerians. The boys, especially those who didn’t grow up in Nigeria, need a new orientation to appreciate Nigerians’ passion for football. The coach and his players are not in tune with our aspirations,” said the former member of the House of Representatives.

Lumumba, therefore, suggested that instead of looking too far, the NFF should consider engaging either Sunday Oliseh or Emmanuel Amuneke whom he said have what it takes to lead the Super Eagles.

“They say Oliseh is stubborn, he is this and that but if he delivers who cares?” he said.

Ogbadu on his part noted that Super Eagles problem is more than technical as he said any coach in the world, no matter his competence, will fail with the three-time African champions.

“With the present crop of players, even world acclaimed coaches like Lionel Scaloni who is FIFA men’s best coach of the year, Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and a host of other sound coaches will fail to deliver with the Super Eagles.

“The problem of the national team is more than Peseiro. He is not entirely responsible for the failures of the Super Eagles. There must be a change of mindset and attitude on the part of the players,” Ogbadu reiterated.

From the foregoing, it is obvious that most Nigerians believe Peseiro does not deserve a fresh contract. When contacted, a top official of the NFF said the Portuguese’s contract expires in May but negotiation for another deal is yet to start.

“It is expiring by the end of May and I am not aware of any negotiations having been opened,” he told Trust Sports.

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