Jose Peseiro: Three Reasons Nigeria Must Retain Super Eagles Coach Despite AFCON Final Loss

Jose Peseiro: Three Reasons Nigeria Must Retain Super Eagles Coach Despite AFCON Final Loss

Ero Samson
updated at February 15, 2024 at 2:18 PM
In this article:
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
Nigeria logo
Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
Alex Iwobi logo
A. Iwobi
Fulham logoFNigeria logo
Stanley Nwabili logo
-GNigeria logo
Francis uzoho logo
-GNigeria logo
Ivory Coast logo
Cote DIvoire
Ivory Coast
  • The Super Eagles suffered defeat in the Africa Cup of Nations finals against Ivory Coast
  • A host of individuals have called for the sacking of Portuguese coach, Jose Peseiro
  • Sports Brief takes a look at why the Nigerian Football Federation must retain the coach

Nigeria's campaign in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) was an epic saga, a tale of the continent's sleeping football giant rousing from slumber to dazzle with a series of resounding victories, only to suffer a heart-wrenching defeat in the final against Ivory Coast.

The remarkable journey of the Super Eagles bore the unmistakable imprint of one man — Jose Peseiro.

AFCON, Nigeria, CAF, Super Eagles, Victor Osimhen, Jose Peseiro
Nigeria's coach, Jose Peseiro speaks to Victor Osimhen, during the Africa Cup of Nations final against Ivory Coast. Image: Franck Fifie.
Source: Getty Images

Appointed as the coach of the Nigerian national team in May 2022, Peseiro faced significant scepticism and doubt. However, he defied the odds, guiding the Super Eagles to the final of the tournament. Despite a heartbreaking defeat to Ivory Coast in the final, Peseiro's impact on the team was undeniable.

As discussions about Peseiro's future intensify and his contract nears its end, many fans and stakeholders are calling for his dismissal. These critics point to his defensive tactics and failure to secure victory against Ivory Coast in the final, despite defeating them earlier in the competition.

Nevertheless, there are compelling reasons for the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to consider extending Peseiro's contract. Sports Brief examines three key reasons why retaining Peseiro could be beneficial for Nigerian football.

Why Peseiro must continue with Nigeria

AFCON target exceeded

In the run-up to the AFCON, the 63-year-old coach was tasked with leading the Super Eagles to at least the semi-finals to be considered for a contract extension. In a remarkable turn of events, Peseiro not only met but exceeded this target.

His achievement came in the form of a thrilling penalty shoot-out victory against South Africa at the Stade de la Paix in Bouake. This win propelled the Super Eagles to the finals of the tournament for the first time in 11 years. Despite their best efforts, they were ultimately thwarted by the host nation, Ivory Coast, in their quest for the continental crown.

Lasting solution to Nigeria’s goalkeeping crisis

One of Nigeria’s standout performers at the AFCON was the impressive Stanley Nwabali. The Chippa United goalkeeper emerged as a beacon of hope, seemingly the answer to the country's long-standing goalkeeping woes following the retirement of Vincent Enyeama.

In the lead-up to the tournament, Nigeria's goalkeeping situation was a concern, but Peseiro made a bold decision to start the relatively inexperienced Nwabali over Francis Uzoho. This decision paid dividends, as Nwabali's performances exceeded expectations.

While some may argue that Peseiro should have made this change sooner, his bravery in making such a pivotal decision at the beginning of a major tournament deserves recognition.

Continuity and stability for the team

As the saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day," and similarly, the success many Nigerians dream of for the Super Eagles will take time to achieve.

The recent achievements of the Super Eagles in Ivory Coast could serve as a foundation and a launching pad for greater success in the future. Therefore, retaining the current manager would be a wise decision.

The Super Eagles have had three coaches in the past three years, which is not ideal for a team aspiring to return to the summit of African football.

With the 2026 World Cup qualifiers and the 2025 Africa Cup of Nations approaching later in the year, it would be unwise to part ways with Peseiro, who already has a good understanding of the team.

It's important to note that if the NFF decides to bring in a new coach, they will have only the March international break to familiarise themselves with the players before the next set of competitive fixtures. This further underscores the importance of retaining the current Portugal-born coach.

Alex Iwobi decides on international future

Sports Brief reported that Super Eagles of Nigeria midfielder, Alex Iwobi, has made a decision regarding his international future.

The 27-year-old was rumoured to be contemplating retirement after Nigeria's defeat in the AFCON final against Ivory Coast. The Fulham star has faced a wave of online abuse from Super Eagles fans.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).