By Victor Akuma
On Monday, the Super Eagles of Nigeria settled for a narrow 1-0 win over the African Wild Dogs of Guinea Bissau in their second leg group ‘A’ AFCON qualifiers.
The unconvincing victory had come a few days after the team lost the first leg of the encounter at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.
For context, the defeat was Nigeria’s first to Guinea Bissau in 42 years.
As expected, the game heightened doubts around the ability of Jose Peseiro to inspire the Nigerian side to glory.
Data show Peseiro has managed 11 games as Super Eagles coach. Out of this, he has won only 4 and lost 7.
The Monday game exposed his weaknesses in his team characterised by poor tactics and lack of team spirit.
Nigerians have continued to express their disappointment with the poor results under the Portuguese so far.
In a Twitter post, MillsRx wrote: “We scored from the penalty spot, we did not score from open play. We still have a lot of work to do, but the most important thing is that we won the gameIt’s good we got 3 points today, but I believe we could have gotten 6. We need to open the attack more so more players can get involved. It looked like Chukwueze was trying to win it by himself. Simon did good to score the penalty, but we could have done more with 58% possession”.
It's good we got 3 points today, but I believe we could have gotten 6. We need to open the attack more so more players can get involved. It looked like Chukwueze was trying to win it by himself. Simon did good to score the penalty, but we could have done more with 58% possession…
— MillsRx (@GameMedicine) March 28, 2023
Similarly, Japhet Drollz wrote: “There is so much wrong in this Super Eagles team, yet there’s so much talent. These guys are doing well at club level but when playing for the national team, they fail to perform. First, I think there is no motivation because the coach is only trying to build a CV which he is known for”
There's so much wrong in this super eagles team yet there's so much talent I mean say what u want but some of these guys are doing well at club level but when playing for the national team I think first of no motivation cause the coach is tryna build a CV
— Japhet Drollz (@DrollzJaphet) March 27, 2023
The big question is what is really the problem of Super Eagles: the coach or the players?
The coach or the Players?
Since its establishment, the Super Eagles has enjoyed the services of 20 foreign coaches dominated by Germans and the Dutch in its over 70 years of the team’s existence.
Critics argue that the team has not fared better under foreign coaches but the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has not stopped hiring them in its perceived quest to revamp the team.
Peseiro’s appointment as Super Eagles gaffer raised hopes at the outset, despite the pockets of criticisms in some quarters. The 62-year-old is not entirely new to African football. Peseiro had a short stint with the continent’s most successful club side — Al Ahly of Egypt.
Although he won the league title with the Egyptian giants, the fans of the Egyptian club did not really liked the Portuguese, and that contributed to his early exit from the club.
Peseiro has also managed other clubs as well as countries in the past. They include Real Madrid (assistant) 2003–2004, Porto 2016, Braga 2016, Sporting CP 2018 and Venezuela 2021.
With such a CV, there is no doubt that the NFF will bet their last card on the new coach, especially as was alleged that he was recommended by Jose Mourinho.
But unlike his portfolio, his performance in charge of the Super Eagles has been far below the expectations many Nigerians. The general consensus remains that more can be done with the current team marked with quality players currently dominating various European leagues.
The man for the job or not?
Though well-travelled and with vast experience, Peseiro’s records with the different teams he has managed does not instill lots of confidence.
From Panathinaikos to FC Porto to Braga and even Saudi Arabia, there has hardly ever been any happy ending in his coaching career.
That said, the Portuguese tactician has some notable moments winning silverware, with the last being the league title with Al-Ahly
Will his stint end as usual with the Super Eagles or can there be a turn around?
It may seem too early to decide but 7 losses in 11 games is obviously not a good way to start and Nigerians are running out of patience with him.