Jose Peseiro’s tenure as Nigeria’s head coach has been a heated debate, with many questioning whether the Portuguese manager should be retained or replaced.
As his one-year contract nears expiration, here are five compelling reasons why Peseiro deserves to continue at the helm of the Super Eagles.
Fulfilling Contractual Obligations
Peseiro’s primary objective was to guide the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, a mission he accomplished with their recent victory over Sierra Leone.
Nigeria’s 3-2 triumph in Monrovia secured their place in Ivory Coast 2023, highlighting Peseiro’s success in fulfilling his contractual obligations.
Intimate Knowledge of Players
Bringing in a new foreign coach would mean sacrificing another year to acquaint the new gaffer with the strengths and weaknesses of the Super Eagles squad.
Given that the Nations Cup takes place in January, Nigeria cannot afford such a transitional period. Peseiro has spent months getting acquainted with his players and discovering the ideal formation.
Unless his replacement is an indigenous coach, disrupting the team’s dynamics might not be in their best interest.
Steady Improvement and Attacking Prowess
While Peseiro’s tenure has witnessed some defeats, it is essential to acknowledge the positive changes he has brought to the team.
The Super Eagles have arguably become a better-attacking force, focusing on pressing high up the pitch and utilising the flanks.
In fact, the Nigerian national team has scored more goals (20) in Peseiro’s first nine games in charge than in erstwhile boss Gernot Rohr’s last nine matches (9 goals) across all competitions.
Though there is room for improvement in defensive solidity, the team’s progress – albeit with soft, baby steps – under Peseiro’s tutelage cannot be ignored.
Fair and Prudent Decision-Making
Peseiro has displayed astute decision-making abilities, making tough choices that have proven fruitful for the team.
Despite criticism from fans regarding Ahmed Musa’s declining form, the coach recognized the importance of his captaincy and stood by him.
Peseiro’s faith in Musa’s off-field contributions to the team has been invaluable.
Similarly, while there have been calls for players like Gift Orban and Victor Boniface to be included, Peseiro has demonstrated discernment by sticking with his trusted options from Europe’s top five leagues.
The coach’s decision-making, even when unpopular, reflects his commitment to assembling the strongest possible team.
Adapting to Nigerian Football Politics
Peseiro has skillfully navigated the intricate world of Nigerian football politics. Instead of publicly complaining about unpaid wages, he privately resolved the issue and even personally visited Super Eagles players in various European countries.
Furthermore, Peseiro has shown a deep understanding of Nigerian fans’ desires and has kept a close eye on the domestic league, attending NPFL games.
While he has yet to award full debuts to home-based players, his efforts to stay connected with them are commendable.
As the discussions continue regarding Jose Peseiro’s future as the Super Eagles head coach, these five reasons serve as a compelling case for his retention.
Having fulfilled his initial objectives, adapted to the team dynamics, made prudent decisions, and displayed an astute understanding of Nigerian football, Peseiro has laid a pretty-decent foundation for the team’s continued success.