Former FC Porto coach, Jose Peseiro will resume his job with the Super Eagles when he leads the team out against Mexico and Ecuador in friendlies
With less than a week to go before the Super Eagles regroup again since the March disappointment, a new coach comes with the expectations of positive results and making almost magical turnarounds in fortunes.
More than his ambitious analysis of each Super Eagles player as confidently pressed forward by Amaju Pinnick earlier in the year, Peseiro needs to be realistic about the nature of the job he has and an understanding of the country he will be managing.
Nigerians care less about WeScout. They are football powerhouses and believe that their knowledge of each game supersedes the coach’s especially when results are not forthcoming.
There’s no form of analysis that settles a Nigerian football fan’s rage if results are not trickling in per time. Going by the situation and the nature of the Nigerian football environment, Soccernet has provided a starter’s pack – a list of advice and to-dos for the Portuguese coach.
In this starter’s pack are;
Nigeria has some of the loudest ex-internationals in African football. The media constantly seeks their opinion of the current football situation and it’s not strange to see them make comments, even when admitting a lack of idea of the situation would have been better decision.
They know a lot, except that their knowledge is not beyond what they watch and the soundness of their analyses. Some of them have coaching badges. Those with badges are usually careful as they’ve gone through different experiences that have shaped their understanding of the nature of coaching. They’ve been through some humbling.
However, comments like “although I didn’t see the game, I think…” will be very common and constant. It’s important to listen to some of them as they genuinely have good information to spare. But candidly, majority are just like the rest of Nigerian football fans – passionate, expectant and sometimes unrealistic.
2. Systems and player selection
Nigerians know their football. They know 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 4-5-1 and all the tweaks that come with them. They can tell when the block is too high or low. They know games that need wing backs and not fullbacks. They understand how important it is to defend a lead sometimes and they will always say.
Nigerian football fans conduct a perceptively deep scrutiny of every formation, system and player. Deployment may never be always perfect with them. When the results are right most of the time, they don’t care much about what’s being played. But how it’s being played is key to a Nigerian football fan. Let them enjoy football. If you have doubts about how important this is, ask Gernot Rohr.
3. You can’t satisfy every Nigerian, you’re not bread
Nigerians love bread. It’s one of the most consumed staple in the country. They love their football too. And it won’t be strange to see people seek some beautiful blend of systems to make a good brand of football. When the brand however doesn’t produce results, danger looms.
Don’t try to satisfy Nigerian football fans. Only bread and money have that ability. There’ll always be critics and criticisms.
4. Home-based players
Eight local based players will be part of the Mexico and Ecuador friendlies. They’re a talented bunch of players who just need opportunities. Some of them will impress, and some others may not prove good enough, like their foreign colleagues. Many times, coaches of the Super Eagles have been here.
The reason these players have had as much as eight slots in the 30-man squad is because Nigeria didn’t make it to the World Cup. They’re always seen as a resort when results are going south. There are persistent and consistent believers in the league and the quality of players it possesses but most Nigerians only remember to call them when the foreign-based professionals don’t come to life.
5. How to beat an African ‘minnow’
In Nigeria, many African nations are still minnows. Nigerians are yet to recover from the 4-0 lead thrown away to Sierra Leone in Lagos. Or the loss to Central African Republic at home. These are things that should never happen if you want Nigerians’ respect.
A 2-0 win against Seychelles is lowly and poor. Don’t do it. You should always aim for the kill. Hit them for a 5 or 6 and get Nigerians talking. Should Togo defeat the Super Eagles 1-0 the following game, your hype is completely extinguished. Nigerians never spare a bad result. It’s all blamed on emotions, or the obvious lack of it.
6. Jollof Derby
Nigerians are yet to recover from the 2022 World Cup ticket lost to Ghana. It has affected Nigerians individually and as corporate organisations. Every Nigeria versus Ghana game is of high mettle. Fans don’t joke with it, because it’s beyond football. Both nations share a brotherly rivalry that makes every loss hit harder than others.
If you’d want Nigerians to remember you for good, avoid a loss to Ghana, wherever both nations cross paths. Never lose to Ghana.
7. AFCON title and Becoming a Hero
The Super Eagles have three African Cup of Nations titles with those successes coming at more than a decade between the other. The first came in 1980, and the second came fourteen years later in 1994. It took 19 years before the third was won. And for the joy gotten from these three occasions, the coaches’ names have remained indelible in the hearts of Nigerians.
An AFCON success overrides every other failure. It gives an instant gratification and that achievement stays glued for a long time.
8. Nigeria has fine women
Gernot Rohr’s photo with a Nigerian woman once trended. While many did not have an idea of who the woman is, the social media went agog with stories that the Super Eagles coach has lost focus. It’s not impossible to lose focus in Nigeria.
Women will be in your face and when priorities are not set right, trouble may loom. It’s the truth many do not admit.
9. Politicians, Clout and the Dressing Room
When the Super Eagles are doing well, politicians love to enjoy the clout too. They raise the roof with monetary promises which nobody knows if they ever get fulfilled. They make the news a lot at that period, almost more than the players who are doing the job.
They will make moves to speak to players, and pretend to have any idea of what coaching is about. When they don’t come, the federation chairman may make scathing remarks that question your authority. They’ll throw things at you. Bring your shield.
There are many more truths that will be discovered in the course of delivering your mandate. Best of luck as you attempt to steady the flailing Super Eagles ship.