AFCON 2023: Nigerians divided over calls for Jose Peseiro’s sack

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Nigerian football fans are divided over calls for the sacking of Super Eagles head coach, Jose Peseiro in the wake of the team’s loss in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 final.

The Super Eagles disappointed fans by losing 2-1 to hosts Cote d’Ivoire in the AFCON final played at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium on Sunday night, having defeated the Elephants 1-0 in the group stage of the competition.

Many Nigerian football lovers blamed the Portuguese tactician for the defeat and called for his sacking, a call that is now tearing the internet apart.

Popular sports journalist, Osasu Obayiuwana said calls for Peseiro’s sacking were unjustified as the head coach surpassed the target set for him by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).

“I see that a lot of #Nigerians are after @JosePeseiro’s head, after the @NGSuperEagles failed to win the #TotalEnergiesAFCON2023Final.

“I am not a fan of this man. You all know this. But it is wrong to pour abuse on his head.

“As negative as his ‘catennacio’ tactics were, had the defence maintained its alertness, they would have won.

“Both goals from #CoteDIvoire came from carelessness in the defence. He has surpassed the semi-final target set for him. On what basis do you sack him now?” Obayiuwana asked.

Another journalist, Adepoju Tobi Samuel also backed Peseiro.

“On Peseiro, we have been here before, sacking and changing coaches and we have managed just one AFCON final since 2013.

“Peseiro should get a contract extension, this time a long-term contract that will show a sign of respect for the manager. A two-year contract that will cover for the 2025 AFCON and 2026 World Cup (Qualifiers and Tournaments), clauses of termination should be based on performance and results,” he said.

Football journalist, Shina Oludare said, “Jose Peseiro’s men overachieved because several Nigerians including myself never expected them to go this far.

“Nevertheless, could we have beaten Cote d’Ivoire to the diadem? Yes!

“Peseiro must explain why he altered his strike force in the final when there was no problem. It was also clear that he had no plan B or C because when his formation cracked, he shuddered & made subs that counted for nothing.

“The Portuguese took 22 players to Cote d’ivoire but kept faith in just 14 players. Why take players to a tournament when you don’t trust them?”

A data scientist, Temitope Ayanbisi said, “Nigerians should cut this man some slack. Nobody gave him any chance before the tournament, but he exceeded expectations. José Peseiro, the best active Portuguese coach. Friend of the Special One.”

Social media influencer, @jibreelKhalil disagreed, noting that Peseiro’s tactical ineptitude caused the defeat.

“I will solely shoulder the burden of this arch defeat on Jose Peseiro. He has no business managing a team of Nigeria’s quality. He repeatedly adopted a defensive system even against a team we were far superior to.

“We didn’t qualify for the finals because we were tactically and professionally better than our previous opponents, we were shrouded by undeserved luck and a touch of individual brilliance,” he said.

Ralph Chidozie George said, “Now that #AfCON2023 is over, let us thank this Jose Mourinho disciple, Jose Peseiro and then ask him to GO.

“He is NOT the one to take Nigeria to the next level which is not to aspire to qualify for AFCON semifinal but to become a world beater.

“Another golden generation is here.”

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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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