Did Peseiro Deceive The NFF To Gain Employment?
The Super Eagles we know is a global brand of massive but highly unfulfilled potentials in world football. If not for NFF’s dire reputation of owing wages, international coaches always fall over themselves to manage this group of exceptional players.
Jose Peseiro is one of them.
Personally, I don’t think the Portuguese gaffer is a fraud, no. I have come to believe he is sincere in his own’s expectations and assertions of being able to win the Afcon with Nigeria. Not that he merely said what the authorities and fans want to hear.
However, where I think he pulled the wool over the eyes of Eguavoen and the NFF is HOW he intends to achieve this.
Let’s take a step back; Gernot was sacked immediately after using a 3-5-2 formation to eke-out a 1:1 draw against Cape Verde in Nigeria in a world cup qualifier. The same formation had led to a 1:0 loss against Central Africa Republic weeks prior. Bigwigs in the NFF and very many fans called this formation regressive and alien to Nigeria, more so an insult to be used against minnows.
The NFF then sought to introduce a system that would position Nigeria as a bully to harness the killer instincts we have in our strikers. Up stepped Eguavoen and his 4-4-2. It worked for a while but the wheels came off spectacularly against Tunisia and Ghana in Afcon R16 and World Cup qualifiers respectively. Not to be deterred, the NFF sacked, demoted (whatever) Eguavoen and brought in Peseiro who promised to move heaven and earth to use the same 4-4-2 to win Nigeria the Afcon.
After wobbling and largely fumbling through friendlies and world cup qualifiers, Peseiro has now ditched this formation (that has proven to be ineffective with the Nigerian players at his disposal) for one very similar in outlook and application to the one that saw his fellow European Gernot Rohr sacked!
The question now is, how come our players appear to be more comfortable with a formation that provides 5 players when defending?
As we can see, all of our centre backs bar none are error-prone. Yes we can praise Nwabili but the only goal he conceded thus far in the tournament was when the Super Eagles played with just 4 defenders at the back against Equatorial Guinea where he stood like a NEPA pole as the ball made its way into the net. Add to that, our attackers have largely underachieved when it comes to converting begging chances and our midfields often struggle to elevate their performances beyond just doing the basics.
Fans of Gernot Rohr and the German tactician himself will be having a filled time, saying to themselves that: ‘didn’t we say that Super Eagles players aren’t as technically endowed as most of their fans think?’
As for me, whatever happens, the end justifies the means. If Peseiro uses a defensive formation to achieve Afcon greatness, happy days! If he lied to the NFF to get the job only to change his formation and philosophy when push came to shove, who cares?
I don’t think Peseiro was dishonest. Just like Gernot Rohr, I just felt he might have landed at the realisation that the players at his disposal aren’t grounded enough to unleash the potentials inherent in a more offensive style whilst in the same breath not being able to keep it tight at the back well enough.