Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro has made the 2024 AFCON title his main priority but perhaps there are more pressing issues for Nigeria to focus on before then.
Jose Peseiro has declared his ambition is to make the Super Eagles African champions again by leading the country to a fourth AFCON trophy.
The Portuguese manager will have a chance to make good on that promise in 2024 when Ivory Coast hosts the Africa Cup of Nations given Nigeria qualifies.
But perhaps Peseiro’s ambition is misplaced in this case and winning a tournament Nigeria haven’t even yet qualified for should not be his main priority.
Other pressing issues
Not that winning the Africa Cup of Nations is too lofty an ambition for a country with Nigeria’s football talent, history and pedigree.
The issue with Peseiro’s bold declaration is that it puts the cart before the horse; both the horse and the cart are necessary, you just have to put them in the right order.
Peseiro’s eyes should be fixated on everything the Super Eagles do in the buildup to the showpiece in Ivory Coast, such as the style of play which in retrospect is the main reason he was hired in the first place.
The 62-year-old was hired on the glowing recommendation of Jose Mourinho to bring much-needed stability to the Super Eagles who were in disarray at the time.
He took over a team that had just failed to qualify for the World Cup after a poor showing at the Africa Cup of Nations which ended in the round of 16.
However, eight months after Peseiro’s appointment, the feeling of gloom surrounding the Super Eagles remains just as pertinent and instead of taking care of that, he’s talking about winning the next major tournament.
Identity first then trophies
Eight months and seven games into his Super Eagles career, Peseiro’s team remains without a clear identity, which was the major reason his foreign predecessor was fired in the first place.
Gernot Rohr coached the Super Eagles for five years and hit pretty much every target put in front of him but still lost his job just before AFCON 2022 and deservedly so.
Although Rohr mastered the art of getting results particularly when it mattered most, especially when his job was on the line, the German was still regarded as an underperformer tactically.
The general belief was that although the Super Eagles were winning games, they were still lacking in a clear identity nor did their football match the quality of players at the manager’s disposal.
This is precisely what Peseiro was brought to correct, to help the Super Eagles perform at an optimal level and improve the team tactically but so far that has been missing.
But unlike his predecessor Gernot, Jose is not even getting the results as consolation for the similarly underwhelming football on display.
Five losses and two wins in his matches as Super Eagles boss have not helped Peseiro to win over the football-crazy Nigerian public, majority of whom are still sceptical about him.
So it is particularly baffling that he leaves all of these problems before him to start publicly worrying about an AFCON tournament that is still a full year away.
Not to say that a major trophy like that wouldn’t help him win the fans over but it is too far away to rely on for that, by the time it comes around, Peseiro would be nearing his 2nd year anniversary as Super Eagles boss if he still has the job.
In this scenario, only good football and a noticeable tactical identity will give him the validation and support that he craves, not bold declarations.
- The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Pulse Sports
17:25 - 24.01.2023
The three-time African champions could use the qualities of the Crystal Palace star in a position where they have struggled to find a suitable fit.
14:36 - 23.01.2023
Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro gushes over “friend” and namesake Jose Mourinho
11:48 - 23.01.2023
Super Eagles head coach Jose Peseiro lays down the gauntlet to foreign-born Nigerian stars.
21:47 - 22.01.2023
The Super Eagles manager was recently in England to watch players like Eberechi Eze, who is still eligible to play for Nigeria.