The Portuguese tactician has been in management for more than three decades, but he is on the verge of the biggest highlight of his career
Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro could win the biggest trophy of his career if he leads Nigeria to success at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire, Soccernet.ng reports.
Nigeria face the host nation Cote d’Ivoire today (Sunday) at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Ebimpe, Abidjan, with the winner set to become the new champions of the continent.
It is the fourth time Peseiro will lead a team to the final of a major tournament in the 32 years he has spent coaching clubs and national teams.
The former Porto boss has enjoyed one triumph in his previous three final appearances.
Peseiro led Sporting Lisbon to the final of the UEFA Cup in 2005, but his team was edged to the title by CSKA Moscow.
The ex-Real Madrid assistant coach laid his hands on his first and only trophy when he guided FC Braga to lift the Taça da Liga in 2013 – beating Porto in the final.
Incidentally, that was also the year Nigeria won the AFCON for the third time.
Peseiro helped Porto reach the final of the Taça de Portugal three years later, but he was beaten to the trophy by his former club, Braga.
The 63-year-old tactician was also in charge of some other clubs in Saudi Arabia and Portugal, as well as the Venezuelan national team, with no success.
The former Al Ahly coach can change that narrative in Abidjan on Sunday when he leads Nigeria against Cote d’Ivoire.
Making it to the final of the AFCON in only his first attempt has brought lessons and new experiences Peseiro’s way, and the Portuguese coach insists he wants to win the tournament he tags ‘special’.
“Playing a final is always important,” Peseiro says at the pre-match press conference.
“This is my first AFCON. Some were saying it’s been special, and I can attest to that. The emotions in Africa are very special. All of this in my opinion, is a great way to learn and I would like to win it with the Nigerian team tomorrow,” said the coach.
“I learnt tremendously here. There is joy when you win but difficult when you lose so it is very important to find a balance. We have a great squad of players that really want to win this for Nigeria. Some are newcomers to the squad but have played in other competitions.
“Football brings a lot of emotion, more than any sport and this is important for Nigeria.”
To reach the final, Nigeria finished second in Group A behind Equatorial Guinea after claiming a draw and two victories over Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau.
The Super Eagles dispatched Cameroon in the Round of 16, soared past Angola in the quarterfinals, and needed penalties to edge out South Africa in the semifinals.