After the needless procrastination which eventfully drew the ire of the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on May 15 announced the appointment of Jose Santos Peseiro as the new Head Coach of the Super Eagles.
He replaced Franco-German tactician, Gernot Rohr who was relieved of his appointment in December 2021 after some disappointing results with the senior national team.
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Peseiro’s immediate assignment which can pass for a baptism of fire is the double international friendlies that are lined up for the Super Eagles against Mexico and Ecuador in the United States of America.
When announcing his appointment, the football federation introduced the coach spectacularly. As usual, Ademola Olajire, the image-maker of the football federation was at his best as he unveiled the profile of the gaffer in a well-written press statement. The objective was to convince Nigerians that the man hired for the tough job is equal to the task.
Nigerians were told how Peseiro is a former striker who has coached so many top clubs and national teams across four different continents namely Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.
They were also informed that the coach is an educationist with a degree in physical education/sports sciences, boasts of top-level coaching qualifications/training, and has coached at Sporting Lisbon, FC Porto, Panathinaikos, Rapid Bucharest, Sporting Braga, Victoria Gumaraes, Al-Hilal, Al-Wahda, Al-Ahly Cairo, Sharjah FC and Real Madrid (assistant coach during the Galacticos era), as well as serving as Head Coach of the Saudi Arabian and Venezuelan national teams.
Without doubt, it was a perfect job by the Communications department of the NFF because those who kept asking to know what is so special about the new coach were given a good insight into his rich background as a football coach.
However, for obvious reasons, the NFF didn’t give Nigerians the ugly side of Jose Peseiro. Every coin has two sides but what the federation presented was just the beautiful side of the coach who is not stainless after all.
For instance, the NFF didn’t tell Nigerians that Peseiro has been sacked almost countless times by some of his former employers at club and national team level. He was first sacked along with one of his mentors, Carlos Queiroz at Real Madrid in 2004.
Peseiro resigned at Panathinaikos in 2007 for poor results, sacked at Romanian side Rapid București in 2008, sacked as coach of Saudi Arabian national team in 2011, got fired at FC Braga in 2016, sacked 2017 at Sharjah FC in UAE after only nine months and returned to Sporting Braga in 2018 after 13 years but was sacked the same year following poor results.
He then returned to national team duties on 4 February 2020, when he was appointed by Venezuela after the resignation of Rafael Dudamel. He lost 0-3 on his debut against Colombia in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification.
Peseiro then resigned as coach of Venezuela in 2021 after his team’s shambolic showing at the 2021 COPA America in Brazil. In fairness to him, his reason for resignation was the failure of his employer to pay his salaries.
It is also important to note that the coach is known for short time service. He hardly stays long in a team. A cursory look at his coaching profile shows that he didn’t spend up to five years in any of his former teams. His longest spell was with Clube Oriental de Lisboa in Portugal where he spent four years.
And apart from his sacks, brief stints and resignations, it appears Mr Peseiro is averse to winning major trophies. In over three decades of coaching, there is no single record that he won a major trophy with any of his former teams.
Although I do not intend to incite Nigerians against their new coach, I feel it is also important that they should know that beyond the beautiful things NFF told them about the Portuguese, there are still some ugly things about the 62 year old coach that they must know in good time.
I believe this vital knowledge will help them to tighten their shock absorbers for any disappointing moments like those that Rohr served the nation when he was in charge of the Super Eagles for nearly six years.
Since the NFF has continued to repose confidence in foreign coaches, it is good that they finally settled for someone they believe has garnered enough knowledge and experience for the job.
What is expected of us is to give the coach a chance. Even if he was chased away by an ordinary club side in the Egyptian topflight for possessing a ‘weak resume’, let’s support him.
Moreover, in a few days time, precisely Saturday May 28, when the Super Eagles take on Mexico in one of the upcoming international friendly matches in the USA, Nigerians will have the chance to witness firsthand what the Portuguese tactician is bringing to the table. Our people say a good day is known in the morning.
On this note, I welcome Peseiro to Nigeria, the land of nearly 200 million football coaches.