I am not a fan of Peseiro but the timing of his exit and the sad delay in appointing a successor could be counter productive

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By: Adewale Ajayi

Football fans in Nigeria United in their condemnation of German coach Gernot Rohr after two years incharge of the Super Eagles but the Nigeria football federation waited until December 12, 2021 before relieving him of his appointment. That was barely three weeks before the Super Eagles jetted out to Cameroon for the African Cup of Nations.

In his place, the football house appointed Augustine Eguaveon who at that time, was technical director of the Nigeria football federation.

Thesame scenario is playing out again. Peseiro was never the first choice of Nigerians when he was appointed precisely two years ago. Two years down the line, he gave stakeholders more reasons to demand for his sack as the Super Eagles performances got worse with every passing game.

His contract with the NFF was tied to Nigeria’s performance at the 2023 AFCON which was initially fixed for June 2023. Unfortunately, that competition was moved to January 2024, meaning the NFF had to wait till the end of the AFCON, before deciding whether to extend his existing contract or look elsewhere.

Fortunately for Peseiro, the Super Eagles rose to the ocassion as all 25 players saw the need to make a statement with the AFCON which they did, by winning the Silver medal at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations which ended about three weeks ago in Coted’Ivoire.

Incidentally, that singular performance catapulted Peseiro from a below average coach, to a super tactician and gave his representatives the added incentive to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Peseiro’s decision to move on after the expiration of his contract on February 28, came as a rude shock to many, including his employers who were already discussing the possibility of offering him a new contract post AFCON.

Unfortunately, that decision has taken Nigeria football back to 2021 and could put the NFF in that precarious position where they will begin to regret the exit of a coach who rose from villain to hero in just under four weeks.

Remember how Nigerians started putting the blame of the Super Eagles failure to go beyond the round of 16 at the 2021 AFCON and qualify for the 2022 World Cup, all on the doorstep of the football house. Many believe that the decision to sack GernotI Rohr was ill-timed.

That however, shouldn’t have been the case, if the board of the Nigeria football federation have always been proactive enough to act at the right time, knowing that failing to plan, is planning to fail.

In the first place, why is it always difficult for the NFF to recommend a capable assistant to previous foreign coaches? Under Gernot Rohr, it was Salisu Yusuf and the very inexperience Joseph Yobo.

Salisu was later suspended after soiling his hands with bribe while Yobo spent two years learning the trade but ended up learning nothing.

No wonder, when Augustine Eguaveon was appointed as chief coach of the Super Eagles following the exit of Rohr, the NFF never thought it wise to make Yobo his assistant, instead, they brought in Emmanuel Amunike to join a three man coaching crew.

Peseiro is gone and feelers from the football house has it that Augustine Eguaveon is again being considered for a second missionary journey with the Super Eagles albeit as interim coach.

It’s almost one week since Peseiro announced his decision to move on, yet the NFF has not come out with an official statement informing Nigerians that the Portuguese coach is no longer incharge, neither have anyone informed
Nigerians of any plans in place to replace him.

A country of over 200m people, still basking in the euphoria of our Nations Cup exploit, cannot be treated this way. The NFF needs to come out now and talk to Nigerians. It is even more demeaning and ridiculing to imagine that our National team coach and his foreign assistants dumped us few days after being decorated with a top national honour. That to me, is a slap on every Nigerian who celebrated him and recommended that he should be given such heroic reception.

Like I said earlier, we have always found ourselves in this situation because once a foreign coach leaves, we don’t always have a capable understudy to replace him.

Finidi George is too cold, too calm and too livid to take charge of the Super Eagles. For the two years he worked with Peseiro, he never offered any interview on National television, discussing tactics, patterns or team selection. He has never been seen anywhere appraising or condemning the team’s performance. Certainly, that is not the kind of coach Nigeria needs at this time. I am sure we deserve something better.

Going forward, I think it is high time the NFF comes out with an official statement. They should stop taking our silence for granted. We need to hear from the NFF now, our patience is waning.

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