Nigeria draft in Peseiro to lead team, but only after AFCON finishes

December 30 – The Portuguese José Peseiro has been named the new coach of Nigeria, but he won’t lead the Super Eagles at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

His appointment brings months of drama to an end in the Super Eagles camp but leaves the Nigerians in a vulnerable position ahead of next month’s continental finals. The former Sporting Lisbon and Porto coach replaces German Gernot Rohr who was dismissed a fortnight ago by the Nigerian Football Federation.

The NFF said that interim manager “Augustin Eguavoen will lead the Super Eagles to the AFCON 2021”. Peseiro’s role will be restricted to the role of an observer in Cameroon.

“It was unanimously agreed that the AFCON is a good avenue for Mr Peseiro to launch a working relationship with Mr Eguavoen, who will revert to his role as Technical Director (hence Mr Peseiro’s immediate boss) after the AFCON,” said the NFF.

The strange arrangement will see Peseiro take charge in February with precious little time to prepare for the all-important World Cup playoffs in March.  Nigeria is one of ten African countries to have qualified for the third round of qualifying and in January the ten group winners from the second round will be drawn into five home-and-away ties.

Peseiro has enjoyed a nomadic existence as a coach with spells at Portuguese giants Porto and Sporting before adventures in Greece, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The Portuguese has however little experience in Africa, having spent a short stint at Cairo giants Al Ahly.

His predecessor Rohr came under fire after underwhelming results in World Cup qualifying. The Nigerians scraped past the Central African Republic to top their group, but with pressure increasing on the German, the NFF decided to dismiss him.

He had been Nigeria’s longest-serving manager after taking charge in 2016. He led the Super Eagles to the World Cup in Russia and the bronze medal at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, but he was never a fan favourite, standing accused of a conservative playing style and lack of progress.

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