FOLLOWING the resignation of Nigerian ex-international Austin Eguavoen as the handler of the Super Eagles in March 2022, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) announced the appointment of 67-year-old Portuguese Jose Paseiro as the new head coach.
Before Peseiro’s appointment as the coach, the Super Eagles under Eguavoen had failed to secure the Qatar 2022 World Cup ticket.
The failure to participate in the World Cup raised concerns over the competence of the handlers of the Super Eagles.
In a bid to fill the vacuum, the NFF shortlisted a handful of coaches for the position. Among the prospective gaffers, Paseiro was named as the coach on May 15, 2022.
Peseiro’s record as Super Eagles coach
The Portuguese tactician began his assignment with a 2-1 loss to Mexico in a friendly match, in Texas, on May 29, 2022.
Five days later, Nigeria lost to Ecuador 1-0 in another friendly match.
On June 9, 2022, Peseiro recorded his first win against Sierra Leone, 2-1, in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifying match.
Four days later, it was a goal fest for the Super Eagles as they pummelled Sao Tome and Principe, 10 goals to nil, in another 2023 AFCON qualifying match.
In his third friendly match played on September 27, 2022, the Super Eagles could not continue their winning streak as they lost 2-1 to Algeria.
On November 10, 2022, the Super Eagles suffered another defeat under Peseiro as they lost 2-0 in a friendly match against Costa Rica.
Again, on November 17, 2022, Portugal thrashed the Super Eagles 4-0 in another friendly match.
On March 24, 2023, the Peseiro-led Super Eagles suffered a shocking defeat – losing to Guinea-Bissau by a lone goal at the Abuja National Stadium.
Guinea-Bissau, ranked 118th on the FIFA rankings, is one of the minnows of African Football.
However, the Super Eagles redeemed themselves in the return leg in Bissau, winning 1-0, on March 27, 2023.
The ICIR’s analysis shows that Peseiro played nine matches; won three and lost six. The coach lost all five friendly matches played by the Super Eagles.
A breakdown of the matches played by the Super Eagles under Peseiro:
May 29, 2022 Mexico 2 vs Nigeria 1
June 3, 2022 Ecuador 1 vs Nigeria 0
June 9, 2022 Nigeria 2 vs Sierra Leone 1
June 13, 2022 Sao Tome and Principe 0 vs Nigeria 10
Sept 27, 2022 Algeria 2 vs Nigeria 1
Nov 10, 2022 Costa Rica 2 vs Nigeria 0
Nov 1u, 2022 Portugal 4 vs Nigeria 0
Mar 24, 2023 Nigeria 0 vs Guinea-Bissau 1
Mar 27, 2023 Guinea-Bissau 0 vs Nigeria 1
The ICIR conducted a comparative analysis of Peseiro’s one-year record with that of former coach, Genrot Rohr, who was appointed in May 2016.
Below are the results of Super Eagles matches during Rohr’s first year as coach
September 3, 2016 Nigeria vs Tanzania 1-0
October 9, 2016 Zambia vs Nigeria 1-2
November 12, 2016 Nigeria 3-1 Algeria
September 4, 2017 Cameroon 1 vs Nigeria 1
October 7, 2017 Nigeria 1 vs Zambia 0
November 10, 2017 Algeria 1 vs Nigeria 1
November 14, 2017 Argentina 2 vs Nigeria 4
This shows that Rohr won five matches and drew two out of the seven matches that were played under his leadership during his first year as Super Eagles coach.
2023 AFCON qualifiers
However, the Super Eagles are currently the leader in group D, with 9 points, in the ongoing 2023 AFCON qualifiers. The team has a match against Sierra Leone on Sunday, June 18.
Peseiro’s contract with NFF
Peseiro has a one-year contract, with an option of a two-year extension if the Super Eagles win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations originally scheduled for June but later postponed to 2024.
This means his contract elapsed last month, May, and his employer, the NFF, is yet to release any statement on possible renewal, or termination, of the deal.
The contract is reportedly valued at $70,000 (N32 million) per month, out of which he pays the two staff that accompanied him.
Assessing Peseiro’s performance, veteran sports journalist, Kunle Solaja berated the Super Eagles handler. He noted that Nigeria has not enjoyed any dividend on the investment made in hiring him.
“He is collecting money in thousands of dollars but the returns has not been commensurate with the amount we are spending on him.
“I don’t think this is viable, except we come to adopt a situation whereby those coaches we employed from abroad will be working on a part-time basis.
“Peseiro cannot claim he is coaching the Super Eagles players because there is no player with him but if he could, just like his predecessors have done, create a homegrown team, train them and before you know it, three of them can graduate into the Super Eagles but that is given as part of their assignment.
“The few times he has been around, I think he just watched a few matches and in most cases, he will be abroad monitoring our players. The same players we see day in and out on television,” Solaja said.
Also, the publisher of Sport Pro Newspaper in Kwara State, Bayour Issah, gave Peseiro a low mark. He noted that the matches won by the Super Eagles under Peseiro were against countries that have a low pedigree in football.
“Most of the matches that he won were against countries that were not important when it comes to football pedigree.”
He suggested that Peseiro’s contract should not be renewed.
“I think that he should take his leave. As far as I am concerned, his performance is below par. I think that Peseiro’s time is over and it is an opportunity for all Nigerians to come around and scrutinise those that will be at the helm of affairs as national coaches.”
According to the publisher, the Super Eagles should be handled by world class coaches, like Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.
“Super Eagles of Nigeria is a big brand across the globe, so whoever is going to handle them must be above board, must be somebody that everybody knows, like Pochettino, Mourinho or Guardiola,” he said.