Former Porto and Sporting CP boss José Peseiro was named as the new coach of Nigeria on Wednesday, but the Portuguese will only take charge after the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), who did not give any details about Peseiro’s contract, added that interim manager “Augustin Eguavoen will lead the Super Eagles to the AFCON 2021”, while the the new coach will be in Cameroon “only playing the role of observer.”
“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,” a statement from the NFF said.
Peseiro’s first game in charge will be during the African World Cup play-offs in March, where the former assistant of Carlos Queiroz at Real Madrid will be hoping to seal a seventh World Cup appearance for the West African nation.
NFF president Amaju Pinnick had boldly claimed – this month – that he spoke with Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger for guidance during his quest for a new foreign manager for the three-time African champions.
Peseiro takes over a team that struggled and came under intense criticism due to poor results against lower-ranked opponents during 2022 World Cup qualifying.
The new man’s biggest success came during the first of two spells at Sporting CP in the 2004/05 season. He led them to third place in the Portuguese league and to the UEFA Cup final but resigned early the following season after some poor results.
He has also coached Porto, Vitoria Guimaraes and Braga in his native Portugal, as well as teams in Saudi Arabia, Greece and the United Arab Emirates.
A short stint with Egyptian giants Al Ahly between 2005 and 2006 counts as his sole experience in Africa.
Big shoes to fill
Gernot Rohr departed as Nigeria’s longest-serving manager after taking charge in August 2016 before leading them to the 2018 World Cup and a third-place finish at the 2019 Nations Cup.
But his successor’s announcement as new manager has not been fully applauded by some supporters of the Super Eagles and highly critical local media.
Peseiro will need to surpass his predecessor’s achievement to win over demanding fans in Nigeria.